Monday, April 26, 2010

2C the Total

The end of the year is coming so I will slowly fading away from my posting. Occassionally I will fit in some posts but the next couple of weeks will just be the end and reflections on everything that happened. Today I am posting my final paper about DeHority 2C. I hope you enjoy and the video will be up later. Stay Classy Nappanee!

2C the Total
Two-thirds of a mile, one and eight-hundredth kilometers, and one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine steps are all the same distance, but every nation translates that space in a different way. When I moved into Ball State two hundred and fifty-three days ago, I would have shared a warped opinion of the culture of campus. My original opinion of campus was that we would all share the same cultural experiences and live the same type of life. This difference did not follow my intuition at all. I thought we lived close enough that we would live the life of a small town. To my surprise, I was incredibly wrong. As my life continued, I slowly realized that the connections made across campus turned into relationships, and were being built, changed, and perfected in a different way than those of my Johnson Complex experience.
As a college freshman you are thrown into a situation that you have never been through before. You don’t know who your roommate is going to be or even how your housing environment will be. The transition was not that difficult to me since I was used to meeting new people. However, I could have never expected the disconnect that had become apparent as classes started. My roommate never talked to me, and the people in my hall tended to be closed-door individuals or were prone to cliques. None of the groups that formed were necessarily like me, so I had to look somewhere else for a companion. I had to join Hall Council to finally find someone that I enjoyed being social with. Needless to say, I had developed a mindset that said this was how every college experience. I created a false assumption that everyone had a time when they did not fit in. I believed everyone searched for the need for a social connection within a network.
When it comes to the specifics of how students embrace the college transition, several factors can have an impact on their feelings. According to Ana Arboleda’s study: “66% of freshmen residence hall students’ involvement in their living community is influenced significantly by precollege student characteristics (gender, ethnicity), classification, attitudes (toward hall director, academic comfort, social environment, group study), and environmental variables (noise, time spent in the house, residence assistant interaction, peer academic conversations, employment)” (517). The influence of a variety of different characteristics obviously impacts students. As can be seen from the study, everything in the residence hall makes a difference in how a student feels. Students feed off of their experiences and use them to create their connections in the residence halls. While I was creating assumptions of residence halls, I had taken for granted that there were many other environments on campus that I had no knowledge of. Soon I would have an appreciation for a different type of residence hall atmosphere.
While I was not having an easy time creating a social connection, I had heard from some of my old high school friends that were living in DeHority Complex. On the complete opposite side of campus, I entered into a hotel-like residence hall. Seeing the people in the building, I had a strange feeling that this was not going to be a good experience. The people I passed acted as though they were better than everyone else and this was not the kind of environment I would want to be involved with. As I snuck through the locked doors by “piggy backing”, I crept up the stairs toward the second floor. The hall still had a slightly new smell that was slowing fading as the residents created their personal spaces. With walls splashed vanilla and green, I started to move toward where I was told to go. Suddenly, I heard uproar of laughter down the hall, and I knew that I was going in the right direction.
Walking through the halls, I passed several different types of rooms that seemed to be abandoned. Within the rooms I could see the different personalities that emerged in the hall. There rooms ranged from the messy and fashionable to the clean and artsy type. Slowly as I was walking I was able to sort out three different types of people that I would further have evidence of after observing the group more. Each person does not always fit into one category, and sometimes I have found that they will switch. I do not want to call them the good and the evil, but rather the good and the relaxed. In between there are the people who share similarities of both groups. The good tend to make decisions based upon their religious beliefs. On the weekends you find them watching films and taking part in Ball State events. The relaxed are in every sense relaxed. They tend to make decisions based on what they think feels right or could end up being a good time. On the weekends they are at the hottest parties. Finally, there are the middle fielders who participate in both sides. They do something different each week, but by the end of the night, they would end up in room 243. While the good guys do not like to go out and party, they still enjoy the company of their friends. When everyone comes back at the end of the night, they would not all be under the same intoxication, but they still come together and have a good time. As I entered room 243, I realized that I was wrong about college communities.
As I entered the room, I was welcomed by the smiles and kindness of the creative Ronald Hindenburg, the technological Artemis Andraste, the athletic Frank Costello, the sassy Miranda King, the fashionable Kathy Heart, the artistic Victoria Scarlet, the intelligent Baron Von Trapp, and the unique Jack Chuan. Looking into the room their unique characteristics were visible. These different backgrounds and characteristics came together through the use of an invisible hand of control. Understanding this connection of cultures, Baron Von Trapp explained it saying, “We are all a bunch of misfits. I mean honestly, we all go together like peaches and gasoline. It's our uniqueness that brings us together.” These individuals who came to be known as hall “2C” came together and have a rich history.
Each person moved into DeHority Complex as an individual, but they slowly formed two separate groups that were the original good and relaxed. Hindenburg, Andraste, Chuan, and Costello formed the good group that would watch movies and just chill. On the other end of the hall the rest were getting involved in other affairs. Victoria Scarlet remembers the collaboration. “Our section of the hallway developed ‘The Crew’ of 2C. We went to Late Nite and danced the night away together, went to the Fort Wayne Zoo, and did many other school-y group things, like attend parties and football games together.” Soon classes would start and there would be a greater mixing of friends in the hall. From the events of everyday homework to monthly, laundry the entire hall started to do more events together. “The Crew” slowly dissolved as everyone in the hall formed what was truly 2C. Now they are all one group that is 2C, but they are still open to new visitors.
People wonder what makes this group tick and why they work so well together and I believe the reason is because they are open to sharing their relationships with anyone. During my time observing 2C, I was able to watch visitors come and go. You see as they were forming relationships within the hall, they were also making sure that everyone that they interacted with were also able to be part of 2C. Originally, I thought that these visitors were from down the hallway, but I soon realized that they lived on different floors and sometimes different hallways. The people of 2C were like a magnet, and when people spent some time in the hall they felt the sense of belonging that they did not feel in other places. Some would just stop to say “hello” and others would spend a whole day or night with the group. No matter how long they were there, they would leave with a smile on their face and occasionally receive a traditional hug. I was one of these visitors at the beginning of my journey, progressively changed the way I thought and lived my college life.
I embarked on this journey as an outsider, but as I observed this subculture I began to love them and the environment that they had created. Throughout my study, I found myself wanting to spend more and more time with the group. As an unsettled freshman, I had found myself not being satisfied with my rooming situation or my hall involvement. When I was with 2C I felt like I was a part of something that was great and which actually cared about me. The residents of the hall had the power to welcome anyone as one of their own. If I would not have met them, I would have left for the summer thinking that colleges around the United States were poorly executing the attempt at making students feel like they belong. After working and becoming friends with each of these individuals, I now realize that university campuses can get a profit from a hall like 2C.
Sometimes people believe that college life is the time when you find yourself, but I believe that it is when you find the people who bring out your true character. Some students will leave college and find that all their dreams are not all going to come true, but others will realize that because of the people they had met they have grown into an individual who can achieve any dream that they set their mind to. Here at Ball State, I came across a prime example of individuals who are making a difference in their new environment. The residents of 2C are changing the way neighbors have relationships, and what is expected from a friendship. 2C truly changed my life and I will cherish the memories that I have shared with them. Forever I will remember them as the individuals that changed the college freshmen experience for me.

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Graduation Open House Pictures

Thanks again to everyone who attended!