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Pop those social bubbles

Ever since my bright-eyed, 6-year-old self watched Glinda, the Good Witch of the South from “The Wizard of Oz,” descend from the sky in a life-size bubble, I wished to make a bubble large enough for me to float in. Little did I realize how easy it is to actually live inside a bubble.

The term “living in a bubble” simply means that individuals are unaffected by the events occurring outside of their environment or comfort zone. Often, I watch people stay within their comfort zones by surrounding themselves with those like them and growing complacent in their present circles.

At ORU, this term floats around throughout one’s entire college career. It can happen easily because this campus feels like a world of its own, and that can introduce a feeling of contentment. From personal experience, I would say that a world in a bubble holds more negatives than positives.

There are many bubbles at ORU: your major, your floor, your “table” at saga, the department you work in, athletics and so many others. During my time at ORU, I have found myself in a friendship bubble, in addition to the “ORU bubble” itself. Freshman year, I stayed inside one group of friends in the fall semester and a different group of friends in the spring semester. I stopped reaching out to individual friends and lost intentionality with those outside of my group because it was comfortable to have friends similar to myself.

Now, during my junior year, some of my closest friends are those I thought I would never get along with simply because they differ from my previous friendships. It wasn’t until after I started branching out that I truly learned how to appreciate the ones in my life. Intentionality requires work, which diminishes when you surround yourself with the same people week after week and year after year.

Alongside friendship groups, the ORU culture stands separate from all other universities because of the incredibly individualistic students and unique environment. If during your time at ORU you only engage with fellow students and campus events, then your perspective centers around one place. Students can also stay within the same circle when they attend the same church.     

I am not advocating against enjoying the friendships in your life, but I am encouraging you to branch out to those unlike you. ORU is blessed with wide diversity on our campus, and living in a bubble does not suggest that you avoid diversity; it merely implies that you remain where and with whom you feel most comfortable and relatable.

If you have ever seen the TV series “Parks and Recreation,” you might recall an episode named “The Bubble.” The characters Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt are in the early stages of dating, which Leslie claims to be the “bubble phase.” The couple is cautious of who they let in, because they know the fragility of their relationship. Being inside a bubble is unsustainable and will pop under uncomfortable situations.

Some people keep bubbles around their lifelong ideologies and refuse to educate themselves outside of them, thus refraining themselves from strengthening their own beliefs. It is easy to narrow your perception of society and the world, especially when the ones around you have the same view on politics, social issues and other topics. Essentially, when you’re in a bubble, no one challenges you or asks for an explanation of what you think and say.

I now dare to understand different thought and emotional processes, to present myself in a more welcoming manner and to sensitize myself to others’ beliefs.