Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups
We've covered a couple of chapters in Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's Academically Adrift so far. The authors make the case that under preparation and struggling economic backgrounds of students serve as important factors that lead them to become "adrift" in college.
Of the issues that we've covered, what's one topic addressed by Arum and Roksa that you have found particularly noteworthy? Why?
The topic I found particularly noteworthy was the concept of how ethnic and academic backgrounds truly separate students in higher education. I suppose this is most significant to me because I witness it on a daily basis. I see this with myself, my peers, and younger generations. I feel students from an ethnic and academic background like mine have to work twice as hard to catch up to students with more privileged and socially accepted backgrounds. If students are not willing to work twice as hard to catch up, they fall behind. The reason I am academically successful right now is not because I had the tools growing up, but because I worked hard enough not to let my situation overcome me. Most students do not have that work ethic and drive and that is what keeps them down, or in more relevant terms "academically adrift".
I found the topic on "peer culture" note worthy because I continuously experience this. There are so many clubs and events that have nothing to do with academics and most students spend so much time with extracurricular that they leave no time for homework and studying.
Similar to Brenda, I feel strongly about the concept of academic disadvantages among different ethnic groups. There are specific standards that we are raised with and expected to follow. However, variables such as socioeconomic status and environment can play the largest role in the outcome of one's academic success. For instance, a family growing up in poverty may not have the skills nor time to instill academic importance, because they're main focus is getting the next meal or keeping a roof over their families head. And depending on what level of academic influence the generation before that child's parents (grandparents) had on their children can also play a role in how those adults will encourage learning and academia to our generation. Academic success is undoubtedly available; it takes personal determination and genuine desire to succeed. Despite the disadvantages of early academic influence in a person's life, once a person becomes of age to understand the importance of it, there is STILL that ability to simply put forth the effort to succeed academically.
I also fell the topic about academic disadvantages among ethnic groups in Higher Education is noteworthy. In many cases less fortunate individuals, in a way, lose their desire and determination to succeed on their life journey. It's not always because of laziness but their prior life situations may be causing a hindrance on their future success. It's not impossible to overcome those circumstances but one has to be persistent in there pursuit of academic success.
A noteworthy topic to me was academics and race/ethnicity. I knew that students from certain ethnic backgrounds were at a disadvantage and that meant that other students and I have had to work harder. Even between students from minority groups it seems to me that some still have to push harder than others. I did find it interesting though that in the chart shown on pg 39 that while other groups had some significant improvement in scores the African american scores remained basically the same. I assume there are a couple reasons for that, but it is still concerning.
I found the topic of inequality in learning to be the most noteworthy. It is obvious that there is a distinct gap among students with different family backgrounds and racial/ethnic groups; however it is important to utilize certain characteristics to improve and increase the chances of becoming academically successful.
This concept was most noteworthy to me because it is something that I constantly have to incorporate into my life in order to attempt to achieve success. At times it does feel as if I have to work harder and put in more effort in order to be considered "academically successful." However, I try not to let socioeconomic status or my ethnic background determine my outcome, but rather the drive, dedication, and effort that I apply.
I found the topic of education being lacking in urban communities noteworthy. Though the argument is that students will not do well after graduation if they are not taught the essential information early on is valid on many levels, I feel, at the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the student to make sure he/she does everything possible to position themselves for success.
The topics I found the most intriguing so far are the of peer cultures, and the inequalities of learning within higher education (in regards to various ethnic groups). Due to the lack of college preparation in high schools, predominately underprivileged schools, many minorities attending these schools are experiencing a major disadvantage when they enter the world of higher learning. Also, there is a different level of expectation for minority students deriving from inner city institutions.
Peer cultures tie into this because I feel many peer cultures are derived from educational settings. The minorities, who undergo the same higher level anxieties and pressure seem to take part in the same peer cultures. Also, peer cultures are influenced from students' cultures outside of the world of academics. Instead of peer cultures mixing and blending, I believe there is a positive correlation between academic cultures and peer cultures(who they are comprised and who is accepted). This can lead to further inequalities in higher learning institutions.
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