After the Bubble Bursts

Julia Robinson, Class of ’07

Life after Lawrence for me has been busy, educational, hard and, well, needless to say, expensive. I had the great pleasure to graduate without knowing of our impending economic doom and took a low-paying theater internship offering free housing and lots of experience – but not a lot else. So, after a summer of temporary jobs and a tacky apartment I found myself in the ghetto of New Haven, Conn.
Working as a theater carpenter has taught me a lot, and also never made me miss the VR more. Whether I’m laying bricks, cutting steel or building trap doors at work or simply trying to fit in as I walk past the projects on my way home, I often miss the idea of the bubble.
The crazy thing about college is that you learn things, even when you think you are not. That “Lawrence Difference” manifests itself in pure endurance. I wish I could tell you that Lawrence doesn’t prepare you for the real world, but in fact the “real world” is one giant tri-term: 1. I often work overtime six days a week more than eight hours a day, and while I lift three quarters of my body weight in plywood instead of researching in the Mudd, the craziness is similar. STRESS – you can handle it. 2. Also, Lawrence is a cesspool for disease. This is great, because in this economy you cannot afford to take time off. Take my word for it, and get sick now and build up those antibodies. 3. Wisconsin. I know you’ve probably questioned your decision to go to college in such a snowy and cold locale. Well, rest assured, the people in the rest of the world are not as hearty as those of the upper Midwest. I stun my coworkers daily by not wearing a parka in 30-degree weather. 4. Life isn’t perfect. Neither are you. Ever switched majors? Ever asked for an extension? Ever eaten at Downer? My life isn’t perfect. I hurt my back and couldn’t do my job for awhile and had to rethink my entire career choice. By the way, there are no academic advisors for your life.
While part of me will forever be in places such as the third-floor fish bowl of the Seeley G. Mudd Library or at the counter at Bazil’s, I’m glad to be out of the Bubble, struggling and working. I don’t envy this year’s graduating class. Mine had the privilege to dream we had time to get the “real job,” and there was no hurry. I’m not sure I would be able to choose the same path I did after graduation, as I turned down grad school and a salaried job with benefits. I’m glad I do not have to rethink that decision because it would have been the wrong one. Lawrentians, if possible, take a risk. It’s worth it, and you can handle it. I’ll see you out there.