This opinion article was published in the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition in October 2012.
When choosing a university to attend, the city environment was a major requirement for me. Living on campus, however, has shown me that many times students become comfortably stuck in a bubble and miss out on the opportunities to grow and explore their chosen field of study.
The proximity to classes, engagement in academic opportunities and social life at the university lead many people into becoming more isolated from the outside world and less engaged with the greater community.
Attending a university allows students to develop knowledge on a specific area of interest as well as to become citizens of the world. In college, we learn to critically analyze societal issues that surround us in order to, not only recognize them, but know how to solve them and come up with innovative ways to improve society as a whole. However, it has been interesting to note that, in most cases, students become part of a university bubble where the rest of the world may be observed and discussed about, but it remains being an isolated rest of the world.
In many ways, the opportunity to be away from societal concerns give students the time to understand them more and create alternative ways of addressing issues that would otherwise be harder to come up with. However, after starting college this fall, it hasn’t take me much time to realize that, unfortunately, many students take advantage of this safe isolation by living with an undisciplined and careless manner.
The key is not to use the given freedom to engage too much in social life or simply hide inside a dorm all day, but to go out and explore. The world is at our feet, and the university should be our support and link to the real world. College, being a transition between the haven many of us have been raised in and the responsibility of independent life, should be seen as an ideal opportunity to be more adventurous, explore areas of interest avidly and obtain great results out of it.
As Steve Jobs pointed out, life-changing experiences take place outside of the classroom. The bubble should not stop students from exploring the world surrounding them, but instead provide a safe environment in which to do so.