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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Beyond the Carleton Bubble

<rleton students joke about how Carleton seems to be a bubble. Isolated from the real world and its problems. Going to Book Across the Bay this weekend was a way of opening my eyes to the many things that one can experience in this real world that exist not far beyond any of our dorm rooms.

The first thing that I clearly noticed was the difference in ages of the people at the event. Here in the little bubble everyone is between the ages of about 18 to 22 give or take a year or a professor. And obviously everyone is aware of the fact that all the students are around the same age. But the novelty of being beyond the bubble and seeing young children and adults interacting was so strange.

This is something that seems so simple but when you really stop and think about it when was the last time you interacted with a young child or an adult who does not work on this campus? Especially during winter term, when it is so bitterly cold outside it is so easy to fall into a routine where you barely ever leave your dorm, let alone the campus. Here it is safe and comfortable. Your schoolwork, love interests, friends, meals, and bed all happen to be within walking distance of one another. On the one hand this is a wonderful experience, but it is necessary to look into the greater world every once in a while. Because as we sit here and learn skills and read books and think about our dreams for the future it is just so easy to forget that the real world is what we are here training for.

Another thing that is taken for granted here at Carleton is the constant entertainment that is available to students. So much so that many weekends involve constant choices because there is simply not enough time to do all that there is to offer. Beyond the borders of Carleton campus, events take more time and organization. The lead singer of the band that played after Book Across the Bay mentioned that the coordinator would be calling the next day to book next years event. In the real world there is not an army of student organizations constantly putting together events for our education and enjoyment. It is easy to forget that life is not constantly organized for your personal enjoyment.

Sadly, I noticed that there are some things that are so taken for granted at Carleton that in reality do not exist in the real world. Although it was very nice of the people to provide beverages at every kilometer of the Book Across the Bay, all the cups were thrown directly in the trash. No one was using Nalgenes and there was no opportunity to recycle the hundreds of Styrofoam cups that were being distributed.

On campus there is no thought that is put into composting and recycling. All of the disposal mechanisms are so readily available that you would actually have to actively try to not recycle.  It is truly that easy. So, one can be caught in the assumption that the rest of the world acts this responsibly.

Many other liberal arts schools most likely have the same bubble that encloses their world. Carleton has many many great aspects. However, it is easy to be sucked into this small atmosphere and never come up for air. This ties into the recent apathy that has been seen among Carleton students towards politics and other national events that are taking place. For example, there are not many people on this campus who are following the Olympics. Obviously, classes and friends and other social endeavors are extremely important, but this weekend reminded me that it is important to come up for air every once in a while. It has helped me appreciate how good Carleton really is, and it has also reminded me to look out to the greater world more often.  

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