The Bright Side of the Colgate Bubble

The Real World. I’m not talking about the crass, plot-less, should-be-cancelled MTV reality show, but rather the uncertain life beyond Colgate. For many students, the idea that we are offered the opportunity to live inside of the “Colgate Bubble” (or, for the cynics out there – the idea that we can cumulatively pay more than the price of many American homes to be a part of the Colgate community and share a communal shower) seems to be terribly detrimental. While I’ve heard complaints that living inside of this collegiate bubble is not an accurate depiction of the “real world,” after having ventured away from comforts of campus last month, I’m more than content to be the “girl in the Colgate bubble” forever. In the course of a four hour drive home, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real world is nothing but frustrating, inefficient and morbid.

My foray into “real life” began as I drove away from the Sunoco station in town and ventured down route 12-B. Although I’m from New Jersey and personally consider having to pump my own gas a harrowing reality check in itself, my frustrations with life outside of Colgate developed further into my trip. In the course of what should have been a scenic fall drive, all images of cows and countryside were eclipsed by those of traffic cones and construction zones. Over a two-hour period, I was forced to pass through seven construction areas ranging from single lanes of traffic to the ever-irritating grooved pavement. However, unlike the “work hard, play hard” mantra of the typical Colgate student, clearly the road workers have adopted a mantra of little to no work at all. After having traveled to Colgate countless times in the past year, I’m now 99 percent certain that the I-81 “road works” project is actually just the elaborate name for a “move traffic cones from one side of the highway to the other to test the acuity of drivers” project. I rarely see this kind of inefficiency at Colgate, where students, unlike said construction workers, will work throughout the week-and if need be sacrifice their Sundays, too.

Additionally, it has become apparent to me that the rigorous writing emphasis placed on the Colgate curriculum is just another of the features specific to the Colgate bubble. In the real world, I’ve found that complete sentences are not cost efficient. As I slowly navigated my way through the mess of roadwork, I could not help but notice that the end of each construction area was proclaimed by a blinding orange sign stating “End Road Work.” Although at first I was just annoyed by the fact that a simple “of” could not have been printed between the “end” and the “road,” as my frustrations mounted, I began to appreciate the lack of a preposition. The statement “end road work” became something like a rallying cry, causing me to abandon my former apathy towards highway construction.

However, as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic waiting for a go-ahead signal from the cop directing traffic, I found solace in the fact that if I happened to die waiting for my turn I would be in excellent company. At almost every construction zone I encountered, there seemed to be a cemetery within plain view. Although at first I brushed off the coincidence, by the third or fourth cemetery-construction combo, I came to a realization about the so called “real world.” It seems to me that life is basically a series of frustrating obstacles which inevitably culminates in death. While I’ll admit that my particularly morbid view of the world may have been impacted by the amount of gasoline I was wasting and my low blood-sugar level, it seems undeniable that Ben Franklin’s idea that “nothing is certain but death and taxes” is well-supported in the central New York area.

So, to all those who complain that the cushy Colgate campus is not accurate preparation for life, I say thank goodness for that. I feel a great deal of comfort in knowing that in my daily route from Russell to Lawrence, I won’t be forced to take a detour. I find reassurance in the liveliness of the student body and the fact that the only time I’ve seriously considered my impending death was while waiting for a never-arriving Cruiser in the dead of winter. Most importantly, the newspaper editor in me finds tremendous relief in the idea that complete sentences are not just encouraged, but required at Colgate. When it eventually comes time for me to finally toss my graduation cap into the air, I’m now certain that I will be sad to leave the world inside of the Colgate bubble. Communal shower and all.

Contact Jenn Carey at [email protected]