Bursting Colby’s stupid social bubble

Halloween may feel like ages ago, but it was only a couple weekends ago that students dressed up in costumes and headed out for a night of fun. Each student’s evening consisted of different plans—now I’m probably sounding boring, maybe a bit too obvious since you might be thinking, “of course each student has their own plans, we’re all different people.” And we are all different people, which is why when I made plans for Halloween and chose to forego the senior lock-in in favor of an off-campus party with non-Colby students, I was confused at some of my peers’ reactions. When someone told me it was “weird” that I would attend a party with non-Colby students, I asked why. I’ve known these people all semester, I had a designated driver lined up for the evening, and I was not attending alone. The reply was, “it just is.” Of course, I don’t want to put words into anyone’s mouth, but after hearing that another friend who objected to my attending the party had her own off-campus plans, I felt a bit insulted. Then a bit frustrated. With the common mantra “you do you” around campus, hearing that my plans for Halloween were somehow wrong felt like I was back in high school with parents telling me which parties I could attend and which were unacceptable for whatever reason. Then I came to the conclusion that maybe it’s a byproduct of the College’s social barrier, commonly known as the “Colby bubble.”

Ah, the invisible classist divides between large brick buildings and…the rest of Waterville. We all have our own relationships with Waterville, regardless of how intimate. Some people merely know a few businesses (maybe Jokas rings a bell?) and go to Walmart while others volunteer in the community at schools or in local businesses. Still, we retreat to our small section of Waterville that literally looks down on the rest of the town.

I think the Colby bubble is somewhat of an illusion that would never exist at a school that isn’t so separated from the surrounding community. The uproar about Thomas students partying on campus—as referenced in Tionna Haynes’s opinion piece a few weeks back—showed pretty clearly that, as much as some students enjoy helping the community, not as many are okay with parts of Waterville encroaching on our Colby bubble and threatening to pop it. Students at NYU or other city schools party in their cities. Obviously Waterville isn’t as lively on Friday nights as other city schools, but it seems to have become engrained in Colby culture to pack into a dorm room and “pre-game” without ever actually reaching the “game.” And that’s not a bad thing. I think most students have a great time hanging out with friends on the weekends and attending parties, but our culture has become incredibly insular. This is why I found it odd that when I felt the urge to break away from my ordinary Friday night ritual of pregame, party, apartments, spa, I found it odd that everyone thought it would be tragic.

So while most Colby students have some way of connecting to Waterville, I challenge you to find a new way to connect to this small section of the world that we call home. You might be surprised at what and whom you find.. Deepening your connection to Waterville could even make Waterville a more enjoyable place to live. I’ve heard many Colby students say that if they could change one thing about Colby, it would be the fact that our school is in Waterville. Maybe the town of Waterville helped us move up the hill years ago, but I don’t think they’d be too willing to help us move an hour closer to Portland. So rather than hating on Waterville, try to find something new that you like about it. There are so many great people in the area I never would have met if I hadn’t attended that party off campus on the Friday of Halloween weekend. I had great drinks, delicious homemade pizza, and conversations that felt deeper than the drunken ones I usually experience in the apartments. I can’t vouch for what I missed out on at the Senior Lock-in, and I fully plan on attending at least one this year, but when it comes to what we remember when we look back on our Colby experiences, what do you hope will come to mind first?

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