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My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
     

My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

by Rebekah Nathan
 

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After fifteen years of teaching anthropology at a large university, Rebekah Nathan had become baffled by her own students. Their strange behavior—eating meals at their desks, not completing reading assignments, remaining silent through class discussions—made her feel as if she were dealing with a completely foreign culture. So Nathan decided to do what

Overview

After fifteen years of teaching anthropology at a large university, Rebekah Nathan had become baffled by her own students. Their strange behavior—eating meals at their desks, not completing reading assignments, remaining silent through class discussions—made her feel as if she were dealing with a completely foreign culture. So Nathan decided to do what anthropologists do when confused by a different culture: Go live with them. She enrolled as a freshman, moved into the dorm, ate in the dining hall, and took a full load of courses. And she came to understand that being a student is a pretty difficult job, too. Her discoveries about contemporary undergraduate culture are surprising and her observations are invaluable, making My Freshman Year essential reading for students, parents, faculty, and anyone interested in educational policy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's anthropology at its best: accessible, illuminating, contextual." —The Christian Science Monitor

"My Freshman Year... is an insightful, riveting look at college life and American values." —The Boston Globe

Library Journal
In her mid-fifties, the author (Rebekah Nathan is a pseudonym) registered as a freshman and moved into a dorm, concealing her identity as an anthropology professor on leave from the very same state university (identified as "Any U"). Her intent: to use her expertise in ethnographic fieldwork to better understand today's undergraduates. Only a few administrators were in on her project. Nathan undertook both participant-observer research and formal data collection via interviews. She always identified herself as a researcher and found it remarkable that students did not probe her further, as she had a strict policy of "tell if they ask." Her research brought forth three defining aspects of student life-choice, individualism, and materialism-and found that university efforts to build community among the freshmen were largely unsuccessful. In addition, the author learned why many students find cheating an acceptable response to managing tight schedules and gained insights into the nature of the informal conversations students have about their professors and courses. In the end, she offers a good understanding of the current generation of college students and the broader culture from which they have emerged. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Jean Caspers, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143037477
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/25/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
291,300
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"It's anthropology at its best: accessible, illuminating, contextual." —The Christian Science Monitor

"My Freshman Year... is an insightful, riveting look at college life and American values." —The Boston Globe

Meet the Author

Rebekah Nathan is a pseudonym for Cathy Small. She has been a professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona University for fifteen years.

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