The Augie bubble trouble

Rojeena Thapa

Students spending most of their time on campus and in the surrounding area form a very narrow perspective of the world in a phenomenon known as the college bubble. This is especially true for the students here in Augie who grew up near the Quad Cities. However, the out-of-state and international students moved here for college. Due to this shift, they might have a different perspective on the Augie bubble as it impacts them differently. 

The students who grew up in the Quad Cities are familiar with the city and what it offers. Growing up here, they are familiar with the area, the neighborhood and even the people. With family and friends nearby, it is easy to socialize, go home during holidays or have your immediate family near during times of emergencies. 

However, college students need to break out of their bubbles and get real-world experience to be successful in their careers and personal lives, something international and out-of-state students have experienced coming to Augie. 

When the students are familiar with the area, they form a comfortable boundary. Especially going to a college around their hometown, they tend to meet people from the same high school or acquaintances from the locality, which does not push them out of their box. Rather, they might form connections with people and places they have been familiar with since childhood. 

Even students from further away may not have a car on campus, preventing them from traveling more. This means that they rely on others to leave the bubble, or may prefer to stay only on-campus.

The QC area and Augie Campus shelter students from real-world challenges. Students should engage in internships, volunteer work and study abroad or travel programs to gain new perspectives and skills that will broaden their horizons.  

However, for out-of-state and international students, the college bubble is a little different. Students coming to the quad cities from other parts of the states and the world find it a little restricting and isolating to be spending time in the Quad Cities only. There isn’t much to explore for the entire four years of college. Especially without families and hometown friends, it might be a little difficult to adjust. 

Sambriddhi Pandey, a First-Year from Nepal recollects how difficult it can be to break the bubble. 

“I grew up in a different country for 19 years. With different cultures, people and even the surroundings, it is different once you come here,” Pandey said. 

I personally have experienced bubble trouble when I first came to campus. Coming through sophomore year, my radius around campus has extended a little where I know places beyond the Quad Cities. However, it gets a little gloomy to be in an unfamiliar place for quite a while. 

“There are a lot of things to experience everyday, but in hindsight, there are so many new things to learn. It can be overwhelming but hopping from one bubble to another helps me grow out of my comfort zone,” Pandey said.

As I meet new people, I have asked them about their favorite spots on campus and in the Quad Cities. I have noticed a common trend where the domestic students from the QC area always have a good dining recommendation off the top of their heads. However, out-of-state and international students have a few spots off campus and like to hang out on the campus premises because of familiarity, as they feel more comfortable on-campus rather than exploring an unfamiliar area. 

Ultimately, breaking out of the college bubble requires a willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone and explore new opportunities and experiences. While this can be challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding, providing students with valuable skills, perspectives and relationships that can benefit them throughout their personal and professional lives. By embracing the opportunities available to them, students can break down the barriers of the college bubble and engage more fully with the world around them.