Anyone who has ever gone to Ouachita knows about Ouachita’s proverbial “bubble.” It is an inherent fact that those who attend school here are stuck in the bubble until they leave. It’s an unavoidable part of the Ouachita experience.
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about living in the bubble. For one thing, upon coming here my freshman year, it was the first time that I had gone to a private, Christian school. It was weird taking classes where I was discussing Jesus quite frequently. This bubble so far has provided a great environment for me to cultivate my Christian walk, and I’ve learned quite a bit during my time here. I’m able to be around like-minded people who feel similarly to the way that I do about our faith, including my professors, and I think I’ve benefitted greatly from that experience.
That being said, I think there are also some downsides to living in the Ouachita bubble as well, the major one being that the bubble pops upon graduation.
The bubble’s great for a limited time, but I think we also have a tendency to become disconnected to the world around us once we’re inside. We view the outside world as though from the inside of a fish bowl; we’re free to observe but also safe from the world beyond.
It’s easy to remain inside the bubble, focusing on ourselves, our friends and what’s going on in our own little worlds, but we tend to forget that there’s a world outside of campus. There is a city surrounding us filled with a diverse group of people, and I bet most of us have yet to really discover that, including myself.
I’m definitely guilty of not getting involved. It’s quite easy to just hang out on campus, where the only cares I have are about my homework. I’m pretty active in my church and its activities in my home city of Little Rock, but when I come here, it becomes harder to branch out. Especially when one considers how much there is to do on campus, I find it hard to come up with a reason to leave it when I’m here in Arkadelphia.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us, myself included, have become comfortable. We’ve forgotten that being a Christian is so much more than just going to church, talking about Jesus, singing some worship songs or hymns and lifting up each other’s prayer requests. It’s about showing the love of Christ to the world and proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. Jesus went all over proclaiming truth and loving diverse groups of people. He was involved in the world around him, even though he was not of the world. I think that we, as Christians, are called to do the same thing.
So what can we do to get out of the Ouachita bubble and into the real world? There are a number of things that come to mind. For one thing, there are a plethora of ministries here on campus that reach out to the Arkadelphia community, including “Big Brother, Big Sister” and Tiger Serve Day. I think frequenting local establishments and building relationships with the people involved is another great way to step outside the bubble. We could see if there are any city-wide events going on with which we could get involved, such as attending any holiday parades or festivals, volunteering at the animal shelter or just getting involved with a local church. We could go to major-related conferences and meet people from all around the country who are interested in studying the same things we are. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. The key is getting outside of Ouachita.
The Ouachita bubble is a reality, and while it can be great for our growth as young adults and believers, it can also hinder us when it comes to entering the real world. I think that if we maintain that connection to the real world and keep in touch with a variety of the different people outside of campus, we can make it work for us. The bubble’s great, but at some point it’s got to pop.
By Katherine Carter, opinions editor