Summary and Response to Declining By Degrees

Declining By Degrees is about how colleges seem to not be at their usual high standards anymore. Many people drop out of college because they go there unprepared to take care of themselves and have the self-motivation that is needed to get all their work done. Many people also just get through doing the bare minimum that’s possible to still pass. About 20 percent of students are just drifting through college. In the video they also said that many businesses say some of the people that are applying for jobs right out of college don’t have all the skill and knowledge that is needed for the job. College is now necessary for future success and the key to the American dream. It’s hardly possible to support a middle class family in America without a college degree now.

            In the video they show you clips of students that are are in college. One of them, Matt, attended Western Kentucky University and wasn’t prepared for the toughness of college. Then, they showed Keith Caywood who attended the University of Arizona and dropped out because he fell so far behind in school. Robin Bhalla also went to the University of Arizona but he just drifted through school doing the minimum amount of work and graduated. They also share the story of Britney Schmidt who half way through her freshman year wanted to drop out but her Planetary Science professor, Dr. Robert Brown, made her interested in school again and she ended up graduating and going on to grad school.

            Watching this video was kind of shocking to me because of the statistics of how many people drop out of school and also seeing how little some people do in school. I don’t believe this video completely relates to students at Lenoir Rhyne as much as it relates to students at bigger schools from what we have seen so far in class. At Lenoir Rhyne, students actually have to get their work done and go to class because of the small classes that we have and the fact that the professors know who everyone in their classes is.


“The Sorority Body-Image Problem” Summary and Response

The article “The Sorority Body-Image Problem” by Catherine Mitchell is about her experience of being in a sorority and being judged by her so called sisters about her weight. Catherine Mitchell transferred in to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she was a junior, because it was her dream school. Once at UNC Chapel Hill, she decided to become part of the Greek system. She made this decision because according to her, although only approximately twelve percent of UNC Chapel Hill’s students are involved in a fraternity or sorority, the campus seemed optimized for the Greek life. She explicitly describes the day that she will later come to dread. The Carolina Inn, one of the area’s premier hotels, was the site of the final day of rush. She was provided a glass of water, an index card, and a tissue, which gives the reader insight that most students who pledge cry when they make the decision. Catherine was only contacted by one of the ten sororities she applied for so her decision was not between different sororities, but rather whether she would partake in the Greek life or not. She decided to become a part of the sorority, a decision that she would later come to regret, as she soon became a victim of the cruel system associated with gender stereotypes, poor self-esteem, and eating disorders. Her sorority sisters began discriminating against her because of her weight. The very people that were supposed to be her family turned out to be the cause of her problems.

Although what Catherine Mitchell experienced is not true of all sororities, it is evident in many of them. I believe that by joining a sorority or fraternity, you are giving away many of the freedoms you were born with and are subjecting yourself to hazing and embarrassment. Also, there is no need to pay in order to have friends, and have to abide by the harsh rules set by many sororities and fraternities. 

The Visiting Writers Series: Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty is known for being one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today. He has written more than fifty books and has been teaching at the University of Chicago for thirty-five years.

            Martin E. Marty’s speech was called “The Mainline and All the Other Lines: American Protestantism and the Tracks Ahead.” So as you can tell from the title, he talked about the mainline religion and many other things having to do with religion that are going on in our world today. An important question in his speech was what happened that made other tracks become important/led to de-railing? He spoke of how there are now more Southern Baptists in the United States than there are Jews in the world. He also spoke about the differences between how people of the church acted or lived years ago compared to how they act or live now. For example, many Catholic family many years ago had big families, approximately six or seven kids, but now, about 90% of catholic women use birth control. Or another example is that many mainlines around the 1800s were very judgmental. One of his other main points that added on to the one above is that there have been many cultural shifts, which he believes have not benefited mainline.

            I believe that for anyone to get a good understanding of what Martin E. Marty’s speech was about you need to have a good amount of background knowledge of religion. Many of the people around me seemed to be grasping what he was talking about but almost the whole time I wasn’t really grasping anything that he was saying. Also, it didn’t help that he has a very quiet voice and the microphone wasn’t very loud so I could hardly hear him.