The Aberystwyth Bubble – Preparing for a wider sphere

Aberystwyth_shoreWE ALL KNOW that Aberystwyth has a bubble. A translucent bubble that incases Aber from the outskirts of the A487 and A44. You even experience entering the bubble. Spotting Morrison’s at a distance from the delayed train, if you made it on the correct carriage at Machynlleth that is, or the moment you reach the peak of Penglais Hill on the A487. Whatever approach you take, there’s always the same sensation. It could be because you’ve spent the past 7 hours running out of music and you’re now ecstatic at the thought of leaving your mobile home to escape Ed Sheeran’s life story.

For the next couple of hours you will experience Aberystwyth like never before – apart from the previous time you had arrived. The excitement of the seafront, ‘will it still be there’ ringing through your ears; the sensation that Penglais Hill isn’t that bad really; the freedom of your own space and, of course, the ultimate question: is there anything new?

This process usually takes 24 hours, and once you have woken up to the Seagull alarm and explored a shop that you really hadn’t noticed before but it turns out it has been there for years; it starts. The bubble has you now.  You’re here!

You begin to become engulfed in your surroundings. You know everything that’s happening. The overwhelming sensation of seeing somebody new wears off as you realise you pass them every single morning.

So far, I have been quite negative and honestly, I really like Aberystwyth, I embrace the bubble. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I can’t wait to escape. Yet Aber gives you a chance to do something you never thought you would. Sure, friendships may change, but Aber doesn’t.

Something that may not have been thought of is that Aberystwyth does, in fact, prepare you for the wider world. Aberystwyth as a product would be stable, reliable, and traditional and would not appeal to everyone. Having experienced the product, you understand it more. Aber is a micro-climate, a small version of a global everyday. Incorporated into this small town, you become exposed to a diverse culture and atmosphere; a wide range of lifestyle choices; and let’s be honest – most climatic conditions.

Once you are in the bubble, the welcome sign should say “Aberystwyth – A Beginner’s Guide to Independence.” You experience three years of training on becoming the independent person you aspire to be, but the scale on offer is Aberystwyth. You’re not thrown in at the deep end with Aber, either, unlike the high paced, urban dynamos. Not much changes in Aber, but when they do it seems like a huge deal. Salt closing down was gutting. The journey here may be long, but it’s all part of the schedule – learning to adapt away from home. You are given a sense of community amongst a whole range of activities, with a location that offers so much in a small space. From these activities, communities develop. Aberystwyth offers the stability that is so comforting for student’s first living away from home. Even though PJM may look like a “social experiment” and the town still seems set in the 1920s, it’s the Aber Experience that shapes us into prepared subjects.

Life is about progression, you don’t just jump straight to the top. Aber offers the ‘middle-ground’ transition phase and it does so brilliantly. When we graduate, we’ll go out in the wider world with this experience behind us. You pass the program, it’s time to progress. Aber offers the platform to prepare you for when you do advance to that bigger scale, you can once again take a small step up, rather than a leap. If anything, if travelling is going to be a part of your life, the journey’s to Aberystwyth definitely prepares you for a world of journey’s.

We are all ‘part’ of Aberystwyth; we are the words within the book that tell the story. However, it all comes down to how on board you are with the programme. Do something different and utilise the offer. You have bought the product, so get your money’s worth.