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

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9780143037477: My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

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.

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From the Inside Flap:

"This volume is a page-turner from beginning to end. Rebekah Nathan reveals how little intellectual life matters in college and explores the lives of students who are enveloped by notions of individualism, choice, and materialism. Traversing topics as far ranging as friendship, social life, engagement in university classrooms, dorm life, and the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities as well as those of an increasingly growing number of international students, Nathan uses her well-honed anthropological skills to study the 'university as village.' Faculty, students, and parents alike will find this volume illuminating as we get 'up close and personal' with those undergraduates who attend our large state institutions."—Lois Weis, author of Class Reunion: The Remaking of the American White Working Class

"This is an outstanding book, one of the most important books I've read in this century, and I know it will transform and inspire my teaching and writing. Rebekah Nathan's project--to go undercover as a college student, living in a dorm--is bold and intriguing, especially for a woman anthropologist in her fifties. She comes back with a fascinating story of students who are frazzled but astute at working the system in a world that's invisible to most university faculty. This memoir reveals secrets and solves many a mystery, such as--Why do so many students ignore reading assignments? Why are Friday classes usually disasters? What makes students reluctant to take part in class discussion? Why don't most college students discuss ideas outside of class? And how are international students surprised and sometimes horrified by the behavior of American undergraduates? This book is notable for its ethical treatment of confidential subjects, such as drunkenness and cheating. Nathan is a fine storyteller, and her descriptions of Student Development people's efforts to 'create community' in the university are both funny and sad. My Freshman Year is funny, sad, true, eye-opening, and sometimes mind-boggling. If I knew the author, I would congratulate her with great warmth and enthusiasm."—Emily Toth, Louisiana State University, author, "Ms. Mentor" column and ten books including Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia, Unveiling Kate Chopin, and Inside Peyton Place: The Life of Grace Metalious

"The first thing to say about this book is that there are very few books like it. The author's account of living in the dorm and taking classes on a campus where she had worked as a professor for many years is fascinating. From her experience enrolled as a freshman and through her anthropological lens, we learn how different the world of students is from what professors imagine it to be. I think anyone with an interest in undergraduate life—whether in academe or not—will want to read it and will enjoy it."—Margaret Eisenhart, University Distinguished Professor and Charles Chair of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder

About 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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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143037477

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143037477

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