Different Annotations on a Student's Life and College Culture

Nathan, Rebekah 2005. My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student. New York: The Penguin Book. (Nathan 2005, 19-40)

The chapter begins by explaining why students did not come to hall meetings for their dorms. The first meeting had students missing even though it was clear that the meeting was mandatory. Any gatherings had only had a handful of students show up because they were too busy with their own agendas. Attending these meetings would be taking time away with more important activities.

Nathan uses this as a transition to talk about clubs within the school. She interviews 13 students about club participation and finds that clubs relating to personal interests were lacking, just like the hall meetings. The interviewees all started in clubs but easily dropped out because of other priorities. Joining clubs take up most of the students times, and they didn’t want that.

Nathan even mentions a student named Casey, who’s time is mostly taken up by ROTC training instead of studying.

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She’s a student who did stay in a club but resulted in having no time for anything besides training. Casey had to cancel her meal plan and couldn’t join a sorority she wanted to because she would have too much on her plate. My Freshman Year is credible because Nathan took an abundance of time off from being a professor to actually becoming a student in order to study their lives. Her participant observations were as immersive as it could have been.

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Nathan did so in order to review Moffat’s study on College Life, making this a peer review book. She interviewed many students, enrolled in courses and even lived in dorms. She took her study seriously enough to try and become as much of a student as she could be. Her being an anthropology professor also gives credibility that she has knowledge of the study of human societies. Her information gathered is trustworthy enough to be published by Penguin Books which publishes books intended for large audiences. Many students who read My Freshman Year see their own experiences and agendas relating to the book.

To be completely accepted as a member of a club, one must dedicate most of their time to it. This means that students have to prioritize the clubs over academics and most of them, don’t end up doing that. The social practices of clubs are to attend every meeting and event to be an active member. That is why students drop out of clubs early on because they see where their priorities lie. Nathan proves this by conducting many interviews with students and studying a number of people that show up for clubs and events. Her participant observation point of view helps support my thesis in a sense that she was a student living a college life and physically saw students back out of the social norms within clubs to focus on other priorities.

Warren R., Jonathan. 1968. “Student Perceptions of College Subcultures.” American Educational Research Journal Vol 5 No. 2: 213-232. Accessed September 20, 2016. (Warren 1968, 213-223)

The article is a review on a hypothesis set by Clark and Trow about student subcultures. They came up with four subcultures labeled “vocational, academic, collegiate and nonconformist” to place students under. Two recurring themes labeled “status seeking and identity seeking” also showed up in the study. They have been used to categorize college students and their habits. Warren conducted an experiment years later using these four subcultures and the two themes as a basis to see if students can really be placed into specific subcultures or in more than one. He used hypothetical samples of 20 students and asked nine judges to put each student into a subculture. The experiment was then tested out in real life at three different colleges with 561 students in total.

Warren made many conclusions but the one fitting to my thesis was that the students concerned with finding him/herself in college and would rather participate in out of classroom activities, did not care for his/her academic side. This source is credible since the author is a part of an educational testing service and spent time studying Clark and Trows four subcultures. He was able to categorize each type of student into further subparts in the subcultures. The experiment conducted was very professional and useful to psychologists and anthropologists. The article is part of the American Educational Research Journal published by the American Educational Research Association. The journal is a peer-reviewed journal that covers educational research.

The journal and association are famous for presenting their ideas to other researchers. The conclusion Warren came up with that was fitting to the thesis is that a student who is a part of the nonconformist subculture and focuses on finding themselves or participating in non-academic activities, find it hard to care about their education. Students specifically aimed towards exploring nonacademic ventures rated a – 25 on Warren’s scale of being intellectually orientated in school. This number being extremely close to zero on his scale. Warren states that other interests result in a lack of commitment to studies. This scientifically proves that students neglect academic obligations when turning to clubs and other amusing ventures.

Warren even states at the end of the article that the students who focus on the nonintellectual end of college are known as nonconformists. The nonconformists care about what other students think of their clubs and “collegiate activities such as Homecoming Week and Spring Carnivals”. This scientific evidence helps prove the conclusion stated in the first source as to why students left their clubs in My Freshman Year. They didn’t want to become nonconformists just like the students from the third source. Both students at the different universities chose school work over clubs.

Anderson T., Kenneth, and Anne Page McClard. 1993. “Study Time: Temporal Orientations of Freshman Students and Computing.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly Vol. 24, No. 2: 159-177. Accessed September 20, 2016. (Anderson and McClard 1993, 159-176)

A study was conducted at Brown University focusing on a college student’s domain in “studying” and “time”. Anderson and McClard intended this study to find out what will happen when technological advances are proposed to students and how they will incorporate them into their lives. However, the authors spent a great deal of time observing students activities inside and outside of school. The study was conducted using 61 freshmen at Brown University throughout the whole year using surveys. Participation observation was also present throughout the study. The authors explain how students divide their time up into two categories, study time and free time. Study time is taken up from Sunday night to Friday morning. Free time is spent Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

Anderson and McClard mention how hanging out with friends like going to the movies or lunch were considered breaks from study time. The authors called these participations, “crosscut” because they can fit into both categories. They then go on explaining how extracurricular activities also fit into the “crosscut” category. It falls into both educational and social timelines. They explain how extracurricular activities disrupt the timelines just like going to the movies and going out to eat do. Anderson and McClard say that “Some of these activities took up an enormous amount of time.”. Students at Brown were concluded to think they are studying when participating in extracurricular activities just because it is during the study time portion of the week.

In reality, they are just having social time and do not in fact study while going to these activities. The journal the article was published in, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, has many peer reviewed articles about the curriculum of education. It is a well-respected journal read by many anthropologists learning about the education system in the United States. Study Time is credible in almost the same way My Freshman Year is. The authors also took time out of their lives to participate in observations with the freshman at Brown University. They had to spend a great deal of time performing the study and their findings were extremely respected by other anthropologists. The authors for this novel were anthropology professors just like Nathan was so they have knowledge of human societies, specifically the education societies.

Anderson and McClard found that spending time at extracurricular activities were “crosscut(ing)” into students lives. Many students don’t spend their time with clubs in college because they want to focus on their studies. The students at Brown University felt that Sunday night to Friday morning was suppose to be their “study time” so going about with other activities are regarded as “distractions”. This supports my thesis because students feel like they are taking valuable time away from their studies to participate in clubs at Brown. Clubs require priority and many students at Brown would rather prioritize academics. The article states towards the end that, “The student world is one full of randomly interwoven events over which students have little control.” Any factor they can control to prioritize school will be taken into account. Just like the students in My Freshman Year, Brown students left extracurricular activities because they could factor it out.


Before starting my annotated bibliography, I wanted my thesis to focus solely on fraternity and sorority culture. I realized eventually that it would be very difficult to find sources relating to those specific topics and I also wanted my thesis to branch wider to student cultures. Writing this annotated bibliography was not easy for me. It took me a long time to brainstorm questions and write my thesis. I decided, eventually, that I wanted to focus on club culture by thinking about my own college experience thus far. The phrase that kept popping up into my mind was, “time management”.

How do I find time to join all the clubs and activities I want to join while balancing everything? The answer was I couldn’t. I had to give up joining clubs if I wanted to focus on academics. That made me question if anthropologists actually studied the effects of joining clubs vs. focusing on academics. That was how my thesis was born. After figuring out I wanted to focus on club culture in college, I started searching for articles using the JSTOR link provided on Blackboard. I searched keywords as in, “clubs student culture”, “student culture college”, “academics student culture” etc. Various articles came up that I felt weren’t peer reviewed. I had to find the diamonds in the rust by opening up tabs to see which articles could be used.

I made a list of about six articles that seemed usable and ranked them from best to worst. I went with the Student Perceptions article because I felt a scientific standpoint of the study between clubs and academics was a great article to prove my thesis. I chose to also use the Study Time article because it included a great anthropologist standpoint of the club vs academics topic. The article reminded me of My Freshman Years observation and I knew it would be a great standpoint since the research done was authorized by many anthropologists. I had to double check to make sure the articles were peer reviewed by finding information on the journals they were published in. I listed the courses in additional citations.

Overall, from writing this annotated bibliography, I learned how difficult it is to find the right sources. I didn’t realize I’d have to dig deep to find sources even mentioning my topic. Most of the articles I came across with weren’t peer reviewed or wasn’t supportive of my thesis. I rejected sources that were far from my topic even if they were about college. It was a fantastic learning process that I will use for future annotated bibliographies.

Additional Citations

  1. Sage Journals. “American Education Research Journal.” Accessed September 20, 2016. http://aer.sagepub.com/
  2. Wiley Online Library. “Anthropology & Education Quarterly.” Accessed September 20, 2016. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1548-1492

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Different Annotations on a Student's Life and College Culture. (2021, Dec 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/different-annotations-on-a-student-s-life-and-college-culture-essay

Different Annotations on a Student's Life and College Culture

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