Breaking Bubbles


[email protected]

The start of a new semester is a lot like New Year’s. You make resolutions.

I will not…skip class, sleep through class, sleep in class, procrastinate, drink more than I can handle, stumble through the corridors at 3 a.m. when I do drink more than I can handle, text instead of study, survive on coffee instead of the food pyramid or wake up so late I have to go to all of my classes and meetings in my pajamas.

I will…go to class, write brilliant papers on Gwendolyn Brooks, get straight A’s, eat my greens, go to the gym, join four clubs and be president of all of them, turn off my cell phone for 23 of the day’s 24 hours, not associate with any former significant others who are complete jerks (censored for publication) because I know they are jerks and therefore distracting and detrimental to the writing of brilliant papers, the eating of greens and of joining four clubs, and ration my Munch Money so I am not left relying on the kindness of strangers in the Cantina and dieting through the month of April against my will.

Most people break their resolutions within 24 hours of making them. They sigh, shrug and think, “Maybe next year.” This is easy for the average adult –– most of them are through school or so firmly ensconced in the world of jobs that they spend little or no time contemplating their failures. Normal humans are much too busy to consider the past or their everyday slips –– they’re disillusioned; they’ve learned to bounce back fast. And that is why resolutions, or just plain decisions, are so different for those of us in school.

Living at college means you live in a little bubble of tranquility. You have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood. You live away from home, yet you are probably still dependent on your parents in some way. You pay bills, but you don’t own a house yet. You may live in an apartment, but chances that little scrap of land isn’t your desired destination. You are permanently in transit, even when you remain still.

College provides four years of temporary security, a place to practice adulthood. You put off the inevitable while remaining active. You have a slightly false sense of independence. While no one has complete job security, full–fledged adults are much more stable than students. They have resumes, jobs and contacts. They have made a place to go home to. We, at school, are living in borrowed space, and the amount of time we spend here makes us feel secure when we are anything but. This place is supposed to prepare us, but we can also let it impair us.

Which is why our resolutions each semester, which we will forget, are so important. This bubble makes everything so vague and blurry and warm that we sink into inertness, let our minds lapse. College defines where we go. What we do here effects what we are able to do out there –– unless we’re smart enough to get around the roadblock that is required competence.

Our wills and will nots, so funny and amusing to skim over, are not so funny at all. We need to focus, especially in a place where all we want to do is look away