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Old 10-02-2013, 01:27 AM
 
Location: SW FL
864 posts, read 1,433,997 times
Reputation: 861

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I am writing this because I believe that the notion that college is the time when you cultivate life long friendships, have the most vibrant dating life, gain insight about yourself through others, etc, is a tad bit of an overstatement. I am currently in school in Seattle, and while I love and appreciate the city and all it has to offer, the "college ambience," is not quite as vibrant, dynamic and inviting as I'd expected it to be. This can be attributed to the fact that it is more of an "urban campus," which often equates to a more apartment living ambience than a college experience. I don't have a problem with this, and actually view it as a positive thing, it is the more the additional social "safety net" programs, and the general cultural aspects of college social life that I don't necessarily think are worth raving about.
At my school specifically, there is no greek life, so the administration attempts to use other methods to get students "immersed" in the social aspects. The first red flag I saw was when I looked on the freshman orientation packet and saw all these very infantile looking games and activities students were expected to attend. Karaoke night, a scavenger hunt, and other "interactive" games with orientation advisors were among the list of activities that we're advertised to be a great catalyst to kickstarting my college experience. All over my residence hall, there are brightly colored posters advertising things like "the involvement fair," "redhawk social," "pep rally," etc, etc. Point being I feel as if these efforts to promote a jubilant environment come off as a bit contrived and does not make me feel like I am working towards my career, but rather at some extended summer camp for adolescents.
I'm sure I sound like quite a stiff, unpleasant person, but if you were to see what I'm talking about for yourself you would most likely empathize with me a bit.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was how I don't see the drastic improvement in the social ambience I was constantly told would occur after transitioning from high school to college. I suppose it was a bit naive to assume that in the first place, but as I am finally getting the taste how things are I certainly realize there are undesirable aspects.
What frustrates me the most is that there still seems to be a general hierarchy/superiority complex when it comes to what activities you partake in. In other words, I still notice that the guys who are involved in athletics are the ones who are invited to the parties (and they are usually in "athletic houses," since there are no frats)/who attract the prettier women, and who emit an aura of dominance in general. I respect that a lot of self discipline is necessary to be a student athlete but I also don't appreciate the divide it continues to create. And I'm sorry, but the majority of attractive women here are blatantly aware of it and don't make much of an effort to mingle with people they don't deem worthy. I have had several instances where I am in the middle of trying to carry a conversation, and the next thing I know the phone comes out and some yaking about social media ensues. There is certainly a superficial element still and I notice that people do congregate in their circles and tend not to associate with other groups too extensively. It is difficult to break the ice when you are someone who has moved across the country like myself. Believe it or not, there are people that have literally taken their high school cliques with them, in fact I live right down the hall from some kids that are all from the same high school in San Jose.
In general I don't like listening to people toot their own horns, worrying about being ahead of the next "trend," and having a dominant focus on superficial social elements rather than my career. The combination of the contrived activities, exclusive, cliquey elements, hierarchies, and difficult experiences with certain departments (unrelated), has led me to foster a few concerns. I am curious to hear your experiences with college social life and what can be done to fine better mediums for meeting people and fostering friendships.
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:59 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
16,357 posts, read 10,348,905 times
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Interesting-when I was getting ready for college, it was described more as an educational opportunity, not social. Reality was, of course, it was both. Looking back, meeting so many people from different backgrounds was part of the education.


Anyway-if you don't like the people you're meeting, go to some of those events that are advertised. They are probably held to make it easier for students to meet who otherwise wouldn't.


As for the social divide you mentioned, that's pretty much universal, I think, among young people.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:09 AM
 
Location: SW FL
864 posts, read 1,433,997 times
Reputation: 861
Quote:
Originally Posted by PAhippo View Post
Interesting-when I was getting ready for college, it was described more as an educational opportunity, not social. Reality was, of course, it was both. Looking back, meeting so many people from different backgrounds was part of the education.


Anyway-if you don't like the people you're meeting, go to some of those events that are advertised. They are probably held to make it easier for students to meet who otherwise wouldn't.


As for the social divide you mentioned, that's pretty much universal, I think, among young people.
I didn't mean to imply that college was advertised solely as a social experience, which it certainly wasn't. I am obviously here in hopes of becoming a well versed journalist, and that is my priority. I was just talking about the social aspects given that this is a "non romantic relationships" thread.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:22 AM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,750,956 times
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My father was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy when I started college. So I worked. As in a 40-hour-a-week job. Plus I did extra jobs on the weekends. Sold my plasma. Did inventory at a big retailer. Gave drum lessons. So ask me about my social life. I think I had a grand total of 10 dates during four years there.

Last edited by cpg35223; 10-02-2013 at 12:44 PM..
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
451 posts, read 628,252 times
Reputation: 1164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rcsligar View Post
At my school specifically, there is no greek life, so the administration attempts to use other methods to get students "immersed" in the social aspects. The first red flag I saw was when I looked on the freshman orientation packet and saw all these very infantile looking games and activities students were expected to attend. Karaoke night, a scavenger hunt, and other "interactive" games with orientation advisors were among the list of activities that we're advertised to be a great catalyst to kickstarting my college experience. All over my residence hall, there are brightly colored posters advertising things like "the involvement fair," "redhawk social," "pep rally," etc, etc. Point being I feel as if these efforts to promote a jubilant environment come off as a bit contrived and does not make me feel like I am working towards my career, but rather at some extended summer camp for adolescents.
The college I went to was exactly the same way for the first couple of weeks. People would ask me, "How do you like it here?" And I would respond, "Ask me again when it stops feeling like camp." The thing with all the cheesy activities for freshman is that they're meant to be ice breakers. They'll allow you to have a little fun and get to know some of your fellow students. But you have to participate. I actually met a guy on the bus to go bowling (I hate bowling) who had grown up in the same podunk community as I did, but I'd never seen him before because he was home-schooled. He was a really nice guy and we ended up being friends. It's awkward for a lot of people being away from home for the first time, and the school is just doing what they can to help you make friends.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
22,571 posts, read 24,160,556 times
Reputation: 48986
I don't know that college is necessarily the "best years of your life" socially, but at no other time will you be surrounded by people of your own age and stage of life than you are at college. Once you're out into the real world, your neighbors and coworkers may be older, or married, or have families. People have jobs that involve travel or long hours or have varying salaries, etc. It's a lot harder to find people who are on the same page outside of a school setting.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:51 AM
 
35,324 posts, read 25,191,392 times
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There will always be hierarchies and social stratification, no matter where you are in life.

Yeah, those contrived ice breakers, etc are annoying, but they just do them in the beginning, generally. After freshman year, it is much less common.

The athlete thing, well, it is what it is. I didn't go to a big sports school for undergrad, but even there the hockey players got star treatment. It is part of life. Athletic guys, guys in bands, etc always attract attention just like pretty women do. They'll self select as far as hanging out. That is just life.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:13 PM
 
7,385 posts, read 13,240,802 times
Reputation: 8997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rcsligar View Post
I am writing this because I believe that the notion that college is the time when you cultivate life long friendships, have the most vibrant dating life, gain insight about yourself through others, etc, is a tad bit of an overstatement.
Honestly I've heard that for HS, not college. Otherwise, sounds like the school you're going to hasn't changed since the last time I've attended that school. But the issues you come across and speak of... really is universal. I can still remember entering middle school and then high school and thinking oh, everything's going to change. It did, just... not the way I expected. Its kinda amusing when you enter college, its still somewhat an extension of HS... Just bigger.

You'd only need to change your expectations and take it little at a time. Get involved as much activities, events, et. c. You don't have to limit yourself in what the school offers. Look into the Stranger paper and other newsletters, there's always something going on.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,275 posts, read 4,771,959 times
Reputation: 4042
Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetiebelle View Post
I don't know that college is necessarily the "best years of your life" socially, but at no other time will you be surrounded by people of your own age and stage of life than you are at college. Once you're out into the real world, your neighbors and coworkers may be older, or married, or have families. People have jobs that involve travel or long hours or have varying salaries, etc. It's a lot harder to find people who are on the same page outside of a school setting.
I think fleetiebelle hit the nail on the head.

Those initial activities that schools set up for freshmen are pretty lame, but as others pointed out they are meant to be ice breakers to help you get to know your classmates. They had them at my school too, even though my school has a huge greek program (largest in the country, I think). That summer camp feel doesn't go on for all 4 years.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:25 PM
 
1,765 posts, read 2,445,934 times
Reputation: 1536
College was not for me. The "best years" of my life never really happened. But I made friends, became more self sufficient, had a spiritual awakening, found the love of my life, and graduated.

Basically, it's all behind me now. No one knows what's going to be the best or worst part of someone's life. We aren't all the same. The best recommendation I can give to anyone is to drop the expectations on life going a certain way. That might not be your story and you're going to stress yourself out trying to live a story that isn't for you.
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