The APU bubble

We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all talked about it. Some of us have even been criticized for it.

Whether we wanted it to or not, the APU bubble—where we’re a little bit sheltered, a little bit naive—has become part of our lives, and it’s important to remember that college is not the “real world”—just a cheap knock-off version.

The bubble is a familiar concept, especially among college students, who become so caught up in their own lives that they cease to pay attention to the outside world.

When we graduate high school, we’re told that we’re stepping into the real world. That may have been true in the past, but due to the fact that you need a college degree to get a “real job,” that’s no longer accurate.

The fact that your parents aren’t around to tell you what to do makes you feel wildly independent, like you’re finally a full-fledged adult. It’s like stepping away from the over-protective mother that is high school and entering the caring aunt’s home that is college. Your mom was strict, but your aunt still doesn’t allow you as much freedom as you’d thought she would.

Another aspect of the bubble is the cultural and generational void that we live in. We’re surrounded by people our own age, each of us affected by the same cultural influences. We run, essentially, on the same wavelength.

This is especially true on campus. Students are heavily influenced by what they hear in classrooms and in chapel. Neither of these are a bad thing, but college is one of the few times in your life when you will be surrounded by people whose sole purpose is to teach and influence you; when you graduate, you’ll find out what it’s like to live without them.

As APU students, many of us have not yet faced opposition like the kind that exists in the real world. The university may be able to boast spiritual diversity on some level, but it is very minimal.

When you go out into the world with a real job, your co-workers may or may not believe what you believe. They may also be inclined to dislike what you believe and disagree with you on a daily basis.

Aside from church, you may never again be in a place that constantly affirms you in your faith like APU will.

“I know I don’t live in the real world,” senior business management major Austin Fleming said. “But until I graduate this December, I’m not going to think about it or let that bother me.”

We have the luxury of not having to deal with it right now, which isn’t a bad thing, but we shouldn’t be totally ignorant of it.

APU offers wonderful resources to help you “burst your bubble,” even if it’s just a little, through programs like Study Away and Action Teams. Take advantage of them—Study Away enables you to look outside your worldview, and Action Teams give you an opportunity to work alongside others for Christ.

“I didn’t realize how different people are around the world,” sophomore biology major John Matthew Perry said. “I thought that when I went to Ireland on an Action Team, people would think like me because they’re also a first-world country. That definitely was not the case. I learned a lot about how I want to live my life from the people in Ireland, and I never would have if I hadn’t gone.”

The APU bubble is comfortable for us. It gives us opportunities to interact with fellow Christians and participate in meaningful programs or activities. In the “real world,” we might not experience such a supportive environment.

So, despite how comfortable we are in our bubble, we should advantage of opportunities to see what the world’s like outside. That way, we’ll know how to act in a world that doesn’t understand that we are called to live differently.