Rebekah Nathan's My Freshman Year

2016 Words9 Pages
Rebekah Nathan’s book, My Freshman Year (2005) is extremely insightful; she conducts an anthropological study with the following research questions in mind: “What is the current culture at AnyU (my pseudonym for my university) as an example of the American public university? How do contemporary American students understand their education, and what do they want from it? How do they negotiate college life? What does college really teach?” (4). Nathan does this by posing as an undergraduate student as well as initially conducting participant/observer research but quickly changes her method and conducts a variety of mini-studies. Nathan soon realizes that many students of the 21st century are not as solidified or intuitive as they once were and…show more content…
Students have many other demands on their time competing with learning including: working, sleeping and eating patterns that are constantly in flux, volunteering, being in course overload, participating in extracurricular activities, and spending time with family. One of Nathan’s major sociological findings that stuck with me long after reading the book and that also touches on current social controversies is the difficulty to create a diverse community amongst a large population of students in university. However, she notes that “it is hard to create a community when the sheer number of options in college life generates a system in which no one is in the same place at the same time” (38). Rebekah felt that there were two implications that were a significant regarding the lack of community. First, “there is little that is shared between students by virtue of attending the same university [and] it takes forethought and effort to overlap with others or…show more content…
Nathan makes an admirable attempt to understand college from a student’s perspective while understanding and admitting that she cannot completely assume a college student identity since she does not exhibit the traits of a student. I believe that this is important to the book and research because Nathan accepts that she cannot be fully objective within the place she tried to hold as a professor turned student. Another strength of hers is understanding the idea that college community is not based on homogeneity and that there are different subcultures that exist in different

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