Life beyond the Wash. U. bubble: Don’t forget about it
I am in no way qualified to give advice. I’m a freshman. I’m the baby of the family. I’m underage. I learned something this weekend, though, and I think it’s important enough to share. I learned that even when you are 19 years old and can’t wait for tomorrow, there are always people who won’t make it. For some people, this is it.
My grandmother’s funeral was sad, but not because her life was cut short; 85 years, six children and seven grandchildren prove that. Her funeral was sad because we had all assumed that it would happen another day. Not today. I didn’t visit her in the nursing home because adjusting to college life was more important. Because the Metro stop was too far away. Because I was young and busy and had all the time in the world. Because there would always be more time. Tomorrow. So now tomorrow is today, my grandmother is no longer here, and I can never tell myself that I will visit her later.
I didn’t believe in the Wash. U. bubble at first, because the campus seemed small and the city beyond it seemed huge. Now, though, there are classes and exams and parties and a million other activities to fill my time. If I can’t fit everything into today, then I will stay up all night until today becomes tomorrow. The Wash. U. bubble keeps us so fully wrapped in our own lives that sometimes we forget about life outside. Outside the Wash. U. bubble, there are wars. There are earthquakes. People die. This is not to say that nothing of importance happens within the bubble; of course our lives here are significant, and our purpose legitimate. While we are gaining knowledge and growing into ourselves, however, life outside the bubble goes on.
If I realized yesterday what I know today, I can’t say that I would have acted a whole lot differently; I still would have been busy, stressed and sleep-deprived. But I would have gone to visit my grandma. I would have reminded myself that just because it was my brother’s 22nd birthday did not make us safe from death. So I may have no authority to say this, but I will anyway. Take full advantage of what the bubble provides, but don’t forget the rest. Call home. Visit your grandparents. Skype your friends from high school. Today is here, and there is time.
Kate is a freshman in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.