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The College Bubble

January 17, 2010

I was sitting on the second floor of Barnes and Noble today around noonish. I was, of course, consumed by my life in college — writing articles, getting homework done, friend drama — and I was feeling very overwhelmed, to say the least.

I was in the middle of a phone call with a source. I was getting down what she was saying — just another interview. I was thinking about the story, the other stories I have to write, the people I have to call, the things going on in my life, I felt like the ceiling was caving in.

Then, suddenly, while I’m holding the phone to my ear, I look out the window. I’m on the second floor of the bookstore, so I can see everything outside — and I was shocked to see that there was a WORLD out there!

I saw a father bouncing his daughter on his shoulders in parental bliss. She had on mittens that were too big for her, and he was wearing a blue beanie. Both were smiling, both were laughing.

Walking past them were a group of older women, they had just exited a restaurant, probably just finishing up their Sunday brunch. Lipstick and curled hair stood out, friendly hand gestures and a sense of permanence hit me. One woman patted another on the back, leaning into each other with laughter. One held the door and the other looked on, smiling.

A man on his bike rode by, too. Rosy cheeks, eyes focused, he cut through the cold of the morning with steady peddling.

And I realized — there is a WORLD out there besides the one confined by the limits of my campus. If I walk one mile in any direction, there are lives being lived other than my own, there are problems being dealt with that have nothing to do with mine. The things going on in my life to not dictate which way the world spins.

It’s so easy to forget, when you’re caught inside the college bubble. All it took was a window, and my bubble has finally been popped — even if it was only for a brief moment.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 7:11 pm

    While it’s always good to stay aware of the world outside, the college bubble is actually a good thing to a degree. Your college years are a time for gaining knowledge and developing your talents and skills: a time when YOU are Job #1. Of course, a well-rounded, empathetic, liberal-minded person must look beyond their bubble — and that’s imperative for anyone who wants to be a writer — but enjoy the time you have at college to spend on yourself.

  2. January 26, 2010 9:23 pm

    I agree with the comment above (a very parental response) and I’d like to add that bubbles exist throughout life – the work bubble, the family bubble, the people-that-think-and-act-similarly-to-me bubble… Some people spend their entire lives inside their little bubble, unaware of the world pulsing around them (unaware, unconcerned, unaffected) – it’s good to at least be aware of the world outside your bubble, although sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming (all these people, all these bubbles, how does my little bubble even matter?!?!?) – but that’s my own little existential crisis 🙂

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