Columns / Discourse / January 21, 2015

Bursting the Knox bubble: Washington D.C.

What do people mean when they call the post-grad world the “real” world? What makes life outside of academia so unrealistic?

Junior Casey Mendoza stands at the podium of the National Press Club's Ballroom, during a day trip with other students in the Journalism and New Media program of the Washington Semester. The National Press Club holds events and lectures relevant to the field of media, journalism and public affairs. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza) (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

Junior Casey Mendoza stands at the podium of the National Press Club’s Ballroom, during a day trip with other students in the Journalism and New Media program of the Washington Semester. The National Press Club holds events and lectures relevant to the field of media, journalism and public affairs. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza) (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

Personally, I’ve always imagined the distinction between the college world and the real world as similar to the idea of the “Knox bubble,” or the separation between campus and the rest of Galesburg. Not very often do students venture outside of the bubble, and when they do, little interaction is made between the two communities.

The Knox community is tightly knit and generally similar in age and academic aspirations. We’re students surrounded by other students, and we’re all confined in this academic world for so long that we sometimes forget what it’s like to be around people of different ages, occupations, backgrounds, etc. This is the difference between the “Knox” world and the “real” world.

Breaking out of the bubble is difficult when you’re on campus, which is why so many of us take the opportunity to study abroad. We try to immerse ourselves in completely different cultures, meet new people, try new things and get a grasp on who we are and who we can be when we’re far away from home.

The National Press Club hosted viewing parties for the 2015 State of the Union Address, one open to the public and the other for members only. There, people of different backgrounds mingled and watched the speech. The National Press Club holds events and lectures relevant to the field of media, journalism and public affairs. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

The National Press Club hosted viewing parties for the 2015 State of the Union Address, one open to the public and the other for members only. There, people of different backgrounds mingled and watched the speech. The National Press Club holds events and lectures relevant to the field of media, journalism and public affairs. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

I’ve begun considering my time in D.C. to be a bit like a gap semester. I have fewer academic responsibilities and zero obligations to student organizations. Most of my attention is set on internships, and I’m spending more time wandering around a new, big city instead of a campus (I opted out of the American University meal plan and on-campus housing option).

Here, I’m as much of a working journalist as I am a student.

Last night, I watched the State of The Union at the National Press Club’s public viewing party. Gathered in the small room were students getting out of class, people just getting off of work, businessmen, writers, retail workers, etc. Being free and open to the public, people of different backgrounds showed up to watch the speech.

Gil Klein, former president of the National Press Club and current program advisor of the Washington Program for Journalism and New Media, talks about the club’s collection of photographs. Behind him is a rare photo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchair. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

Gil Klein, former president of the National Press Club and current program advisor of the Washington Program for Journalism and New Media, talks about the club’s collection of photographs. Behind him is a rare photo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchair. (Photo courtesy of Casey Mendoza)

A middle-aged man and his wife teared up at the story of Rebekah and Ben Erler. Another older woman gave out an “amen” to an increased minimum wage and paid sick leave. Another man rolled his eyes at Obama’s talk about climate change. Together, all of us sat and laughed at Boehner’s face and collectively groaned whenever applause lasted more than five seconds.

If I were at Knox, I’d be doing the same thing, but with people who may not personally understand the repeated idea of hard times as well as some of the people at the viewing party.

Being in the room with so many people, as they all reacted differently to the slew of topics and goals being thrown at us, felt very real. This was the group of people Obama directed his speech to. We weren’t a group of just liberal arts students; we were people coming from different bubbles, taking in the speech from our own lenses.


Tags:  "real world" capitol correspondent Casey Mendoza National Press Club state of the union washington d.c.

Bookmark and Share




Previous Post
Rauner's governorship
Next Post
Review: "Birdman" an unconventional Oscar front-runner



Casey Mendoza
Casey Mendoza is a junior majoring in political science with a double minor in philosophy and Chinese. This is her third year working for TKS as a photographer and photo editor. Casey also works as a photography intern for the Galesburg Register-Mail. In 2013, she won third place in the Photo Essay category from the Illinois College Press Association. In the Winter and Spring of 2014, Casey will be studying journalism and working in Washington D.C. She manages the YouTube Channel for The Anglerfish Magazine and works as video editor for Question Mark Productions.




You might also like




0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



More Story
Rauner's governorship
How in the world do you think Bruce Rauner got elected and how do you predict his term as governor will go? I have extremely...