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We Can All Relate

Essay by   •  April 29, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,655 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,766 Views

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I came to college from a fairly large high school of about 1,500 people, and had many close friends. I expected the same thing in college, but was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people here. I realized it would be nearly impossible to have as many close friends, at least not at first. I ended up knowing and befriending three people, including my two roommates. That gave me a grand total of six friends, three of which I already knew from high school. There are so many people it's sometimes hard to pick out the people you know you'll connect with, because everyone is so different. This example of diversity in college is just one of many aspects discussed in two articles written by Tim Clydesdale and Cathy Small about the struggles of life after high school and during college.

Tim Clydesdale works at The College of New Jersey as the associate professor of sociology. He wrote an article which expressed his views about how teens handle themselves the year after high school graduation. Clydesdale explains that, after high school, teens are given the generic speech about following dreams, exploring the world, and living in peace. However, very few teens seem to do these things in the first year. As Clydesdale explains, it is considerably difficult for teens to learn about life, priorities, and the future on their own, because "It involves learning without school or family intervention..." (Clydesdale A11). Teens must learn about what is right and wrong alone. They seem to get too caught up in the "now" to worry about or prepare for the "later." They are busy living for today, and not the preparing for the future, because they have their priorities confused. Teens seem too interested in creating their social identities to create a life identity. Clydesdale refers to this as the "identity lockbox." This "lockbox" is the person that teens seem to be shying away from, or hiding even. It will help them strive to succeed, be prepared for the future, and disregard what is "socially right." He believes that "...economic and cultural forces leave teens with little incentive to open their identity lockboxes and strong incentive to prioritize daily life" (Clydesdale A11). However, there is a small percentage of teens who will be the ones to follow their dreams and know their identities. One in five teens will follow their dreams, and forget what is "socially right" to do so. They have opened their "identity lockboxes" and know what they want in life.

Clydesdales article is similar to Cathy Smalls in the fact that they both discuss how life after high school is difficult and different than they remember it being. However, Clydesdales article offers a more broad view of the subject, not giving specific examples. It is more of an outsider's perspective based on research. Small's article was conducted by experimentation and hands-on experience. It gives specific ideas and facts from an insider's opinion.

Cathy Small has been a professor at a university for the last 15 years. During her 15th year, she realized that her teaching methods were beginning to lose their luster, and no longer have an impact on her students. Small described the situation, "My examples did not seem to hit home anymore, and I had lost patience with the rerun stories about why assignments were not in on time" (Small 1). She realized she had to do something about it. Her solution was to enroll herself in her own university, and gain a new perspective of today's students, thus making changes to her teaching style. For her experiment, she moved into the dorms, got a meal plan, and signed up for courses with teachers she didn't know. As the semester started, Cathy expected to form a large community of friends. She moved into the dorms early and, to an extent, her expectations were granted. There was a good community while advisors set up banners, prepared papers, and got ready for the incoming students. However, the community was short lived. Small said, "Once classes started, everyone's very optional and private lives began" (Small 2). She realized that students have many more options now, such as meal plans, sororities and fraternities, and various majors and classes. It seemed there were too many people to have a large, close community. Most people had a social network of just 2-6 friends. Small, close bonds were formed. There were also many different ways of communicating. There was Facebook, MySpace, texting, and emailing. Through interviewing students, Cathy found out more about the small networks of friends and how they are formed. She discovered that, "They tended to meet early in their freshman year...usually not in classes but during university "experiences,"...that often drew on



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