Essay on Life in the Dorms

Submitted By Kinxzyay
Words: 896
Pages: 4

English 13
22 February 2013
Summary of “Life in the Dorms” In chapter two, “Life in the Dorms”, Rebekah Nathan found that despite the university’s attempt to create community among the students, variety, options and cultural themes of individual freethinking and fun created a wide range of diverse students with little in common. The week before classes started Nathan began to take notescensus of the students in the dorm and how they, and the university, presented themselves. She was surprised by the amount of furniture students had moved in their rooms, and how they drastically rearranged and added to the rooms to accommodate their belongings. The RA’s rooms were very apparent compared to student’s rooms because of the positive reinforced messages that matched the ones posted on the bulletin boards. The RA’s were in charge of the official imagery posted on the bulletin boards down dorm hallways. The bulletin boards soon showed a pattern and patterned variations, especially around holidays. Compared to the bulletin boards and RA’s doors, student doors were more individual and contained insight into how the occupant wanted to present themselves and their interests. The RA’s doors and bulletin boards were formal with “advice, academics, and warnings”. However, the students created themes of “spontaneity, sociability,, fun, and humorand laughter”, which were much more informal and unconstrained than the RA’s messages (23). The most common door displays were strings of phrases with themes anywhere between “freethinking spontaneity and individualityindividuality, fun and a lack of limits… [to] to dark, ghoulish or frightening images” (24-25). The pictures posted on student doors never showed family, they mostly presented friends in poses. that expressed booze, nakedness, craziness, youth, celebrity, sexuality, and freedom. The bulletin boards stressed carefulness, and even posted required meetings so RA’s could go over rules and safety. In the first required corridor meeting RA’s tried to bring together students so they could meet with one another and create a social community, while they also explained rules and regulations. It became clear that having student regulators, like the RA’s, meant that “bad” RA’s were the ones who enforced eachthe rules while the “good” RA’s protectedenforced the spirit of what it meant to be in college, which was fun and freedom (29). The administration officials hardly had anything to do with students unless students created real problems within the college. In a similar study conducted by Michael Moffatt in 1977-1987 found that a majority of students had no idea who higher-level administrators were, and even decades later Nathan was finding students still didn’t recognize administrators. By the second meeting hardly a handful of students showed as the start day for first day of classes came closerapproached. Just before classes started students behaved as Nathan expected, with wild fun behavior and attending many students attended social events; however, as classes began she found it hard enough to keep track of herself as well as monitoring other student’s livesbecame overwhelmed and could not follow other students schedules a closely as she had hoped. It also showed that even though college students wanted their college experience to be about fun and freedom, that’s not how they lived their college lives. This pointed to methodological problems to some central themes in contemporary college life. Nathan found that students studied, relaxed, socialized, and joined clubs far less than she expected because students began to work much more. Students no longer joined extracurricular