Anyone who's taken classes in Palma Hall knows that it's one of the busiest places on campus. People file in and out of its classrooms and many hallways throughout the day, and there's always this buzz of human activity, even during class hours. There are people in the bathrooms, in the tambayans, in spare classrooms, in the Lobby, all killing time until their next classes.
Monday mornings are different, though. The hallways and classrooms are deserted, and all you hear is the static from the nearby guard's two-way radios, the occasional janitor walking through the streets and trying to get a few more hours of cleaning done, the humming of a photocopying machine, and the chatter of the people maintaining the cafeteria.
It's like a totally different place, and it's comforting in some strange, sad way.
It's like even Palma Hall gets a chance to breathe a little, to settle the rattling in its bones and prep for the week to come. Monday mornings are like weekends in UP, but a bit more tense, as it seems even the hallways themselves are gearing up for another busy week of students filing in and out of classrooms, their shoes squeaking on the polished floors.
It's the calm before the storm.
Thoughts are fleeting, though, and the calm is short-lived, as friends show up in the tambayan shortly after. It's good though. It's always nice to run into old friends unexpectedly. This would happen twice today, and I'd be reunited with great friends from the past without even meaning to. Things have a way of working themselves out like that, I guess.
Anyway, this Monday morning in Palma Hall was just like any other: the calm before the storm. Because when I took that grad school admission test, whatever sense of serenity I'd felt while sitting in my favorite spot in the tambayan disintegrated into thin air. Seriously. It was like taking another Final, except with more at stake. I know other people probably had it worse, though. I never realized it before, but DECL sure takes itself seriously.
Hours after the exam, as I was making my way home, I noticed how Palma Hall had begun to take on some semblance of its normal self. There were some students meandering about by now, and the jeeps were all full to bursting. It's nothing like the full-blown crowd of 1pm on Tuesday or 4pm on Friday, but it already felt a bit claustrophobic.
I don't know when I'll see Palma Hall in all its magnificence on Monday morning again, but I'm sure looking forward to it. Anyone who's ever taken classes in the building knows that it's one of the busiest places on campus, but not a lot of people know just how beautiful it is when its halls have quieted down and you can hear your own footsteps echoing across the deserted floors. It's eerie, and haunting, and it's one of the most beautiful things you'll ever see in UPD.