Monday, May 15, 2006

Life in the Real World

My sweet alma mater, Beloit College, was both very small (my graduating class: 296 people) and very insular. Against the ongoing animosity between Beloit-the-College and Beloit-the-City, we developed the “Beloit Bubble.” The Bubble kept us together, kept us safe, kept us isolated.

Then there was graduation. I’m sure you can see the metaphor coming: the Bubble burst.

I don’t know how other people feel about their graduations, but I feel like at Beloit, it was made out to be this big scary thing. We had spent the last four years preparing, in theory, to leave and face the Real World, but everyone seemed to have doubts about our ability to do so. Even the speakers at graduation played this up: our student president gave a speech about our “characteristically uncharacteristic” students, focusing on how Beloit was the only thing in the world tying us together. The commencement was given by Alain Destexhe, former Secretary General of Doctors Without Borders, who delivered a terrifying speech on the topic of genocide. I’m not kidding. It was half an hour of what an awful, frightening place the world is... and how we were about to enter it.

My point: one year ago today I graduated. I entered the Real World. And despite Beloit’s best efforts to alarm me, it turned out that the Real World isn’t so bad a place. It’s doable. It’s livable. I like it.

1 comment:

indiana said...

Am, my dear fellow beloiter... I have yet to enter this real world of which you speak, but first, let me commend you on spelling that genocide fellows name. I do have to assemble (the best verb I could come up with) my own dinner, so perhaps despite the trusty student ID always in my pocket (to reassure my rightful place in a bubble of some sort), I have taken a step beyond complete insularity. Having a "job" (read-unpaid, required internship) helps too. Those are in the real world. Although I had planned to remain mired in academia indefinately, it seems that in a year, I will be thrust into this mythical real world, if only briefly (we hope); good to hear it hasn't kicked your ass.