The First-Year Experience: The Bubble

By Melanie Biles
Design Editor

Some day, I plan to write a book that contains all of the things that people have told me that have turned out to be false. It would include, of course, run-of-the-mill childhood lies, like when my brother successfully convinced me for two full years of my life that I was adopted. There would be some mention of coaches who told me that I would “definitely get to play in the game today” and teachers who assured us that their tests “would not have any surprises” so there was “nothing to worry about.” There would be a special shout-out to my friend who said that her seventh birthday was not going to be a pool party, so there was no need to bring a bathing suit. (Then why does everyone else have one, Elisa?!)

The most important section would be unintentional falsehoods. For example, when I was touring colleges, almost every tour guide told me that their school was “super close to downtown” and that getting to the nearest big city was incredibly easy and something that was done every weekend. When I arrived at Scripps, then, I was under the impression that weekend trips to LA were the norm and could be accomplished with absolute ease. Though it is true that finding a way into LA is not impossible with a little bit of motivation, I do not find myself rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty or hanging out at Santa Monica every Saturday. Instead, I have fallen victim to the Claremont bubble.

Staying in Claremont is, in a word, easy. There is plenty to do on campus and, when that gets boring, the village has enough to satisfy one or two days’ boredom. At some point, I realized that I didn’t even really need that much – between homework, hanging out with whoever knocked on my door, and marathoning Parks and Rec from the first episode in preparation for the series finale (we already miss it in the saddest fashion), I don’t find myself wanting to go off campus that often anyway. The Claremont bubble is safe, convenient and comfortable, so why leave?

Well, as I recently found out, the reasons abound. Last weekend, my roommate and I headed into L.A. to see Wicked and hang out with relatives. We ate home-cooked food, slept in real beds, saw an amazing performance, made friends on the metro and, most importantly, got to hang out with my grandma’s cat. Of course there were challenges in transportation and logistics, but it was relatively easy to get off-campus and go adventuring. I know that I have gotten complacent in the bubble this semester. So, my challenge to you is this: if at all feasible, try to find an excuse to escape. It’ll probably be worth it in the end.