One of the most common phrases you will hear throughout your collegiate tenure at Boston College is that our University is a "bubble." This is undoubtedly true. Our college campus is conveniently located in Chestnut Hill, Newton MA—one of the most affluent and safest areas in the nation. This location prevents students from being exposed to the urgent, pressing, and enduring problems of our time: hunger, crime, warfare, and hatred, among others.
In addition to the geographic notion of a bubble, BC exists as a bubble because of the phraseology and ideology perpetuated by students. If we were to take notice of the organizations we join, the people we spend time with, and the information we feed into our heads, most of us would agree that we live enwrapped in our own bubbles. However, the reality of our situation need not be our potentiality.
If we, as individuals, can come to internalize the Jesuit tradition and values, we not only can break open this bubble (and sub-bubbles)—we can shatter it altogether.
One way of accomplishing this greater goal is through expanding our network of friends. Not our web of colleagues or peers, but rather our group of companions. Speaking as a Korean American student first and AHANA student second, I will say that the general tendency is for Asian Americans to spend time with other Asian Americans, and for AHANA students to spend time with other AHANA students.
On the flip side, the same can probably be said for Caucasian students. However, in my varied discussions with Asian Americans, AHANA students, and Caucasian students, they all make one unifying statement: that they want to diversify their friend groups, they want to meet more people, and they want to explore different cultures. This understanding alone is powerful. It is powerful because the student body as a whole comes from a similar starting point and shares the same fundamental desire. The only difference is the amount of work we are willing to put in.
Just how far are we willing to expose ourselves to vulnerability and discomfort? Just how far are we willing to set aside our pride and egos in the name of friendship? Just how far are we willing to place ourselves in situations where we will be the obvious minority individual? How willing are we to be a Caucasian individual at a culture show, a Latino attending a Korean American retreat, or an international Chinese student going to a UGBC meeting? The question of, “Just how far are we willing?” is not an easy one to answer. Discomfort tends to be very discomforting.
The other way of accomplishing the greater goal of intersectionality is to be mindful of our Jesuit traditions, values, and mottos. For instance, the phrases, “ever to excel” and “men and women for others” definitely mean something to every student at BC. They might carry different connotations for different individuals, but it still means something. If we were to tie it back to our notion of the BC bubble, it might mean something like this: we, as individuals who care, can reach the state of excellence when we are truly for others. But before we can be for others, we must be with others. We must be with our fellow brothers and sisters, regardless of color lines, genders, and sexual orientations. In this way, we can become the best Boston College we can be. We can shatter the bubble through intersectionality.