Friday, February 19, 2010

College: The New Frats

Yesterday I ate lunch with a fellow graduate student who lives in a co-op. I had heard about this phenomenon from other students, but I had never had the chance to find out what it really is. She said it is a building where up to 100 students all live, sharing a kitchen, as well as study and living areas. She said they sign a “diversity agreement,” have their own rules, and have chores assigned to them by the semester. They even have officers to help them deal with certain situations.

To me, it sounds a lot like a new-era-Austin version of a co-ed fraternity. The difference is that it seems they do not have near the social exclusivity that is common with fraternities and sororities. It is a way that students can reduce the ample social opportunities to a much more manageable in-group.

After navigating this campus for the last seven months, I definitely understand that desire. The difference is that being in a graduate program has provided me a sense of community, because my classes have between 10 and 40 of the very same people that I have been working with in the past seven months. Our little diverse group is a far cry from the sprawling 500+ seat undergraduate lecture halls.

Yet I think it is very important for people, no matter their age or occupation, to live in community. I think everyone desires it at some level.

P.S. I have decided to diversify my blog a little bit. I am going to write a little more about this college experience, as well as some of the things I am learning. I think it might interesting for some people to read. Let me know what you think…

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