Bursting The Bubble


As all Columbia students know, it is unbelievably hard to fight your way out of the Morningside Heights bubble.  Let's be honest, it's even hard to leave your suite on a saturday night when you already live with your friends.

But I came to New York from Nebraska.  And although I certainly was not the only one making a vow to explore the city, I felt more pressure to uphold my promise to myself.  How else am I supposed to find hole-in-the-wall restaurants to take visiting relatives to, or street art to instagram?  But it really is difficult.  Sure, I go see shows most weekends, and I occasionally will visit with friends living on the upper west side or down in NYU, but it takes so much effort and time that usually I will avoid it at all costs.

That's why I was borderline dreading beginning my internship.  Three times a week I have rush out of class to trek the distance to the Garment District to sit in an office for four hours and then spend another 20-30 minutes taking the train back uptown to run to another class.  Understandably, I was apprehensive that I may have gotten myself into something I couldn't handle.

But there is something about bursting the bubble that turned my 12 hour days of class and work into my favorite days of the week.  I'm reminded that I'm a real person living and working in New York City, who gets to interact with other real people who don't care about my CC readings or whether or not I have a midterm the next day. Because the Morningside Bubble is more than just a spatial concept.  We are crammed into a just a few square blocks, forced to go through the same classes together, live together, and relax together.  Columbia prides itself in being a school in Manhattan, but Columbians live in their own world.

But when you burst that bubble, when you reorient yourself to realize classes aren't the center of the world and it's De Blasio, not PrezBo, that you should be blaming for daily inconveniences, you're freed.  It's similar to the feeling of being just one of the crowd:  sometimes you feel small and unnoticeable but at other times you feel free to be whomever you want to be.  No one will remember you in that moment except you.

When you burst the bubble, whether its Morningside Heights, Nebraska, or just your comfort zone, you give yourself permission to not care about what other people think of you.  You validate your place in the world.  It's scary to take that first step out, tempting to call in sick or fake some other excuse why you should just stay at home.  That's why I never give myself that choice, who needs that bubble anyways?

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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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