College students traditionally show pride towards their respective school. What makes students so enthusiastic for their school? In Laura Randall’s “Things You Only Do in College” and David Berreby’s “It Takes a Tribe” both writers explore college culture but come up with decidedly different results. Randall argues that college students’ traditions are embarrassing to the university, and students should be focusing on schoolwork not traditions; but Berreby suggests traditions are for the pride which students have for their school.
In this essay I argue that students are passionate for their school, and the traditions they participate in are for the pride they have for the school. Randall discusses the traditions at various universities, or the hazing rituals for the fraternities and sororities on the many campuses. In her writing she looks disgusted that colleges are not trying to stop these “stupid traditions” in Randall’s mind. She states “Today’s traditions are more likely to involve nudity, fire, and intoxicants and be closely monitored by publicity-wary administrators” (Randall, 211). This quote shows the disappointment for college students and their traditions.
Randall is saying there are not any traditions which are good for the university, or the people that participate. Randall implies that these traditions are embarrassing to the universities. In Randall’s writing “Things You Only Do In College” she discusses tradition students participate in, which she finds embarrassing. Randall believes there should be more money pumped into schools academic fields, because that is the reason the students are there in the first place. She believes the universities should crack down on the traditions which get students in trouble. However, most of these traditions were started over school pride.
For example, students will go streaking to break out of their “shell” and show their school spirit. However, Randall believes these traditions are pointless, and they have no meaning of school pride. Randall writes “Like their zanier predecessors, they are a long-remembered part of the college experience if occasionally rowdy, childish, illegal, or all three” (Randall, 211). In this quote, a zanier predecessor means the crazy people who did this before them. This passage states that traditions are a part of the college experience, even though they are mostly rambunctious.
Traditions might be outlawed, or looked down upon them by the administrators of the university, but the students do these rowdy acts for the pride they have for the university. Sure students will go streaking, and jump into a lake, but they do it for fun, and for their pride of the university. If the students do not care for the university they would not do something so odd for the fun of it. The athletics are what make students passionate for the university. Most weird traditions are started in support for the athletics. The athletics are supported by the student body, and it brings everyone together to do these traditions.
In David Berreby’s essay “It Takes a Tribe” he talks about school pride, and how most college students view it’s us vs. them. David Berreby talks about many rivalries between colleges, and the majority of them are started by athletics. There are academic rivalries between many universities around the country; for example Harvard/Yale, or Princeton/Penn. However, most people when speaking of a rivalry think of some kind of athletics competition. There are students however, who do not know all of the traditions when they first go to their school.
They pick them up as they go along. Berreby writes “They’ll be singing their school songs and cherishing the traditions (just as soon as they learn what they are” (Berreby, 207). In this quote he is saying there are many students who apply to colleges for name recognition. However, when they get to the university or college they will participate in the traditions. Not every student at Penn State knows the fight song or the alma mater. However, when they go to a football game or any other sporting event they will be standing proudly singing that same fight song or alma mater.
Berreby states that “They’ll learn contempt for that rival university, Oklahoma to their Texas, Sacramento State to their U. C. Davis, Annapolis to their West Point” (Berreby, 207). This quote is saying the students will also learn who the rival university is, and they will build a hatred for them, and root against them every chance they get. He also talks about some of the bigger rivalries between colleges. Oklahoma and Texas have been rivals for years, but in the public eye society view this rivalry for sports. No one thinks about whose graduates succeed more after college.
Society’s views on rivalries deal with sports, and college students live off their sports teams. If the teams do well then the campus is always more lively, but if the teams lose there is a down feeling all throughout the campus. For example, before Penn State played Michigan in football this year there was a huge anticipation for the game. Most of my friends and me would torture the people who drove from Michigan to the game. Then, after Penn State lost there was a huge negativity all throughout main campus, and I could tell especially from talking to people even a couple days or weeks afterwards.
David Berreby in his essay “It Takes a Tribe” discusses college rivalries, and how students are passionate for their schools for the rivalries. David Berreby and Laura Randall both write about college traditions, and the students that participate in them. However, they both have very different opinions on the traditions. Randall believes the universities are tired of the traditions that students take a part in. She also implies that there needs to be more focus in the classroom.
However, Berreby writes about how students are doing these traditions because of the pride they have for the university. He implies that students also love the rivalry between colleges. In colleges around the world students have different opinions on the universities they attend. In my college experience I have found nothing that makes me more excited than sporting events. Of course I go to class because that is the reason why any student goes to college. However, my passion for this university goes beyond the sporting events. The pride I have is different than what others have.
Although, I do participate in all the traditions at Penn State, whether it’s going to the football game, and singing the alma mater, or singing Hey Baby in between the third and fourth quarter of a football game. They are all traditions which students that are enthusiastic for this university participate in. Students everywhere have some type of school pride, but all express it differently. Whether it’s streaking, or hazing they all have a meaning. The traditions that students participate in are out of the pride they have in their school, and there is nothing that will stop students from doing these traditions in the future.
Courtney from Study Moose
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