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Breaking out of “The Bubble”

As a CMU student, it’s been all too easy to let the stress get to me. Deadlines, group projects, extracurricular, essays took over my life during my first two years in college. I was lost in the CMU-Blues and felt almost purposeless.

Most of that changed after my sophomore year, when I studied abroad. Situated in the middle of the UK, I could travel every weekend, meet people from across the world, and go out nearly every night to social events. I was forced out of my shell—or else, I would have never met anyone—and I was never the same.

Upon coming back to CMU, I struggled with how to preserve this adventurous spirit while working hard enough to succeed. I felt trapped, caught in the black Bubble without the time or energy to break out.

But I did break out. I had to.

As a Senior, I have adapted my attitude, deliberately flipping myself inside out to become extraverted and involved with people on campus. With my imminent graduation, I was free to do a lot of things to get out of the Bubble. But I wish I had known sooner that I could have broken out in so many ways. You don’t have to wait to be a Senior to break out of the Bubble, and I would encourage every underclassman to find one or two ways to make sure you break out early.

So how do you do that exactly?

  • Food: Everyone likes food and eats it regularly. Get off the meal plan and go off-campus for cheaper, better food options. Convince a small group of friends (or just one lunch buddy) to go out with you. Even just walking off campus will help you cope with life in the Bubble.
  • Live off-campus: Unless you’re a freshman, there’s no reason to live on-campus. Grab a few people you know and find an apartment or house. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, and if you’re far from campus, you won’t be compelled to spend all your time in your room.
  • Trivia: You don’t have to drink and dance like a fool to have a nightlife. Lots of places in Pittsburgh offer trivia nights weekly. I go to The Yard, but Stack’d and others have it.
  • Volunteering: This was my big change this year, but I should have done this sooner! You literally just need to show up, and get to explore parts of Pittsburgh you never would have gone, interact with people you never would have met otherwise. PACE at CMU does Service Saturdays every week, and I highly recommend these: many different trips with no skills required. Plus, you’ll feel better about yourself!
  • Take advantage of your student discounts: Use your free bus pass to go to Carnegie museums, the Science Center, and many off-campus restaurants. You pay tons of money to be here, so proudly use your student status to get around town.
  • Get started on your Pittsburgh bucket list early: Trust me, you won’t have enough time during your Senior year! While it may seem like an eternity that you’ll be at CMU, you won’t get around to everything you want to do (and things you didn’t know you wanted to do) if you don’t get started early.
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