Secondary Research

Since Greek Life is such a popular and large part of college life across tons of schools across the United States, there was a lot of secondary research available. The first place I looked was directly on the Chapman website where I found some statistics about Greek Life at Chapman, then onto articles written by outside sources.

According to thepantheronline, 26% of males are affiliated in a fraternity and 42% of females are affiliated in a sorority. There is probably such a big difference in the numbers as Chapman is 60% female and 40% male. There are eight sororities on campus and nine fraternities on campus. Although not almost a quarter of males are involved with Greek life and almost half of the females, fraternities and sororities seem like such a large part of life at Chapman University.

According to an article titled “Joining a Fraternity or Sorority: The Pros and Cons of Greek Life” by thebestschools.org, some cons are the price for membership, possible hazing that is apart of pledging, alcohol and drug abuse that that often comes along with participating in these communities, and the time commitment. On the other hand, the pros associated with joining a fraternity or sorority are networking with other members and alumni, philanthropy and doing good for others, a sense of social identity, developing social skills, and all of the fun events.

There was a lot of relevant research available for me to use for my ethnography. Most of the information I found out, I already have a pretty good grasp on because I myself was once in a sorority, and I have heard my siblings and friends talk about their experiences as well. Although this information is helpful, I am more excited to conduct my primary research through my interviews and observations. I believe that the interviews especially will provide much more realistic and personal experiences of students here at Chapman.

Ethnography Proposal

I plan on investigating and observing the sub-community of unaffiliated students at Chapman University. This sub-community consists of students that are not involved in Greek life on campus. This unaffiliated group is also commonly called “GDI’s” or Goddamn independents among the larger student community.

Why did you choose to not be apart of a Greek community?  Do you think this hinders or helps your overall college experience? — These are examples of my main driving questions when entering my research.

For the subjects of my project, I hope to observe and interview two female and two male unaffiliated students in order to gain a perspective from both genders of this community. I plan to interview Tara Katims and Eva Huzella for my female subjects and Kamari Pope and Austin Ning for my male subjects. These people stem from different “friend groups” and I am confident that they will provide individual and credible information regarding my research questions. The types of questions I plan to ask is the reasoning behind not participating in the ‘rush’ process for Greek communities. In addition, I plan to ask if they ever feel excluded or left out from events or larger group activities that Greek life students are involved in. Also, I want to ask what are the pros and cons if any, of being an unaffiliated student.

In addition to the interviews, I plan on doing field notes and observing how unaffiliated students interact with each other and how they act with students who are affiliated. In addition, I plan to send out an anonymous survey asking if students are involved with Greek life or not and then asking how he or she is enjoying their college experience and if they could change anything.

Fears

The months and weeks leading up to freshman year of college contain a multitude of different emotions. Personally, I was excited for freshman year at Chapman. I didn’t know many people but I was happy to have a fresh start at a new school. This excitement also brought some fears. Due to the fact that I did not know many people from my area at all going to the same university as me, I was extremely nervous to make new friends. I grew up in an area where everyone knew everyone so in a way making friends came very easily to me. College seemed like a huge and intimidating place and I was very nervous to go. Meeting new people and finding my place in a new school was my biggest fear.

Speaking with the Orange High School students, I learned a different perspective from them about their fears about college. I often heard them speak about how they were worried about scholarships and balancing a job and school at the same time. In addition, they seemed concerned about paying for the college or university. Their biggest concern was keeping up with grades and taking finals. These high school students seemed to be most nervous about the higher level of education that colleges and universities expect out of students.

These concerns highly contrast with mine as I was very confident in my academic abilities. I was not fearful or stressed about the workload because I knew I could handle it. In addition, I was not concerned with my tuition being paid for which is something I am very thankful for and blessed about. It really puts into perspective the different challenges and fears other students in the United States have to deal with.

Forms of Intelligence

Throughout our lives starting at a very young age, our intelligence is measured. There are three different types of intelligence describes as analytical, practical, and creative. Personally, I would say that I am most gifted in analytical intelligence. From a young age, I always did very well in standardized testing and got very good grades throughout my school career. Although I do possess practical and creative intelligence, I feel that my analytical has been the strongest. This may stem from the importance of school and grades that was placed in my life from my parents ever since I was young. In my current everyday life, I use my analytical intelligence by participating in classes and showing professors my understanding of the concepts learned in class. Since analytical knowledge and intelligence comes so easily to me, I notice myself spending less time on school work, which gives me the advantage to having more time to learn practical and creative intelligence allowing me to become a more well-rounded individual.

Our society has created a system where analytical intelligence is tested and taught significantly more than practical and creative intelligence. I believe that we value analytical intelligence greater than practical and creative because it is something that can be measured with rankngs and test scores. Naturally, as humans, we tend to put things in categories or boxes because it helps us to quantify things. This is apparent especially in school settings, and it also explains why we are not taught practical or creative intelligence as much or at all because we can’t necessarily test those skills. Because we are taught analytical intelligence, we are trained to think that it is the best predictor of success in the future but I do not think that is true. As our society progresses, I would say that the best way to predict our success in the future is a balance of all three types of intelligence. In our age today, people are becoming more connected throughout the entire world, so social skills are becoming more necessary in order to achieve high ranking jobs. In addition, creativity is also becoming more of a skill that is required to do well and connect with others on different levels. With this knowledge, I conclude that public schools should begin to emphasize the importance and curriculum of all three types of intelligence and move away from quantifying and ranking individuals as much. With a more balanced education, the schooling system has the ability to produce students with skills appropriate to achieve success in our changing society.

Self Made?

Gladwell thinks it is wrong that we often define success as a “personal feat” when it is often directly correlated to unseen opportunities and advantages. Typically success stories talk about people rising from nothing. Gladwell argues that oftentimes this is not true and those people were given unseen advantages that helped them get to where they are. Our upbringing, financial status, and parents presence in our lives all play a huge role in our own success, though it is not always visible on the surface.

In Gladwell’s opinion, we emphasize a personal aspect too much when defining success. We think of the individual’s accomplishments as being something they were the only factor in. Recently Kylie Jenner was on Forbes magazine as a “self-made” almost billionaire. This is relevant to Gladwell’s theory of how we define success because it shows people rise from their opportunities and what they already have. If Jenner didn’t have her family’s platform, money from reality television growing up, and connections she would not be in the position she is in today. However many people who saw the article cover could look at it and think wow she did this all on her own. This shows how the personal aspect is overemphasized in how we define success.

I agree with Gladwell’s perspective on how we perceive success. If you look at the world’s most successful people, they were all given some kind of advantage over the general population. I think some people are successful because they choose to take advantage of what they already have, this aspect of success is a personal choice. Regardless of what you are given, nothing in this world is handed to you. Successful people absolutely had to put in a lot of hard work to get where they are. However, without the right opportunities and resources, the path to success is hard to embark on.

an open letter to negativity

Topic: A story written from the perspective of myself when I was a sophomore in high school, learning how to deal with my tremendously discouraging English teacher, and how I did not let her negativity affect me. Ms. Wilson was notoriously known for being the toughest teacher. Her intimidating and belittling demeanor created a tense and nervous classroom environment and I want to write about my personal battle with the adversity I dealt with.

Audience: Specifically, this letter will be addressed to my sophomore year English teacher; for the sake of the story and privacy I will not be using her real name but let’s call her Ms. Wilson. For the broader audience, I will be aiming to address any student that has received negativity in his or her life, especially in the classroom.

Purpose: I want to explain to my readers that negativity thrown into your life, specifically from authority figures, does not have to affect or bring you down if you don’t let it. I hope to begin a dialogue and inform other students that there can be many factors that make you feel less or discouraged but you can overcome them.

Author: I will be writing from the perspective of myself when I was a sophomore in high school, while also reflecting on the situation and writing from my perspective in the present day.

My Influential Tutor

One person who has influenced my life both educationally and personally is Tom Clements. Tom was my SAT tutor the summer after my sophomore year of high school. Every Tuesday night Tom and I would meet along with a small group of seven or eight other students. Although a rather older man with children out of college, Tom still had a young soul often joking with his students and building comfortable relationships with us. Although my superior, I viewed Tom as someone who simply taught me new things. Two major impacts that Tom had in my life was the effort and support he provided me to succeed academically and the wisdom and advice he gave me about my future.

In grade and middle school, I was always a very average student. My grades weren’t exceptionally high, nor low. When I got to high school, the same trend continued. When the time came after sophomore year to start studying for the SAT, I was confident in my abilities until I began taking the practice tests. I had pretty high scores on the reading and writing but was very below average on the math sections. This discouraged me because I always strived to do well in school, and in fact liked school. Tom could see that I enjoyed learning and noticed that I was embarrassed during the tutoring sessions when we had to share our scores on the math homework he assigned us. He often would invite me to stay after sessions to help me personally work through some of them. I could tell he genuinely cared which made me not want to accept this as a failure but to work harder at it. He even referred me to another private math tutor in the area. With this extra help and support from Tom, my scores began to rise gradually, along with my mindset.

The high school I attended had a team of college counselors and they were somewhat helpful, but it was not too individual. Tom almost assumed the role of a college counselor in my life. He tutored a couple of my older siblings as well and knew that I came from a family with a very academic environment. So I always thought there was a lot to live up to, which ended up putting a lot of unneeded pressure on myself. Tom, who had many children of his own, recognized this in me and looking back now I realize that he truly helped to ease a lot of these expectations I set for myself. He joked around a lot but took all of his students seriously; he also gave me realistic advice on my abilities and which types of colleges and universities to apply to but never made it shameful when bringing attention to which schools that were out of my reach. I appreciated and listen to the wisdom he gave as it seemed that a friend was giving it to me. Tom influenced my life because our relationship was based on learning new things yet it was so casual and comforting.