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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

The following postings have been filtered by category Parents, Beliefs, and the Real Me. clear filter
  •  Spreading Wings

    Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

    The first 20 student comments on “Spreading Wings” win a $5 Yiftee gift to a local business. Use your gift to try out that new flavor of ice cream or spend it on two slices of your favorite pizza. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 2nd, 2014. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    Lucy is a second semester senior at a small private university near San Francisco. Coming into college, Lucy had to choose between two similar universities on opposite sides of the country, one in California and the other in New York. Lucy’s decision came down to location and she ended up selecting the California university because of its proximity to her home and family.

    Now, Lucy is preparing for her post-graduate life. She has applied to countless jobs in public relations, as her father has always told her that getting a job is a numbers game. Several positions have been on the East Coast, but the majority have been in California. Lucy knows her mother would like her to stay close to home. Lucy has a younger brother still in high school whom she could mentor, and an older sister who lives at home and commutes to her job in the city.

    Lucy’s dream job is to work for a global public relations agency in a big city like New York or Chicago. She isn’t really interested in doing public relations for the technology industry. California agencies largely work in technology, so if she stayed close to home she would likely have to work tech for part of her career.

    That being said, family is the most important aspect of Lucy’s life. She was raised in a home where family is No. 1, and there were no compromises when it came to the family’s well-being. Everyone in her family looks out for one another. She would absolutely love to stay near them if she has the opportunity after college.

    After a long and hard job search, Lucy manages to get an internship at one of the largest global public relations agencies in Chicago. She also gets several good agency jobs in San Francisco, including one at a global public relations firm working in technology. Lucy is struggling with her decision. She knows that she doesn’t really want to work in technology, but she does want to stay close to home if possible. Both agency jobs pay around the same, and she would be able to grow in each company with hard work. She also could jump location eventually should she desire to experience working in a different city.

    Should Lucy choose to stay close to home or move away to a more desirable career opportunity? Which option will bring Lucy more happiness? What is more important, individual career goals or family responsibility and loyalty? Does Lucy have an ethical responsibility to consider family when preparing for her future career? Why or why not?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    How to Deal With Moving Away From Your Family

    Photo by Amanda Tipton available under a Creative Commons license.

     

  •  Outside the Fold

    Monday, Sep. 16, 2013

    The best student comment on "Outside the Fold" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, September 29th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Alexa comes from a close-knit Chinese family. Her parents came to the United States from Beijing in 1981 so that her father could attend college. Alexa was born in California, and her parents chose to remain in the U.S. Although they are comfortable in their adopted homeland, they remain very traditional about certain things. In particular, they expect Alexa to marry a Chinese boy.
     
    Alexa, however, doesn’t see things the same way. When she went away to college, she was open to dating people from every ethnicity. She started seeing Brian, an Irish Catholic guy, two months into their freshman year. Now a junior, Alexa is expecting a visit from her parents, and Brian would like to meet them. 
     
    Should Alexa introduce Brian to her family? Is it racist for Alexa’s parents to oppose interracial relationships?  
     
    Useful Resources:
     
     
     
  •  Whose Life is it Anyway?

    Monday, Jul. 22, 2013

    The best student comment on "Whose Life is it Anyway?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, August 4th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Robert is a sophomore in college majoring in accounting. He has never truly been interested in accounting, however. In fact, Robert is very passionate about filmmaking. Since his early years, he has known that he wants to become a director. He is only majoring in accounting at his parent’s wishes.
     
    Robert’s parents are paying for his college, and as a result, he finds himself in a very difficult situation. Since his parents are paying for him to be at college, he understands why they should have some say in his major. At the same time, however, Robert believes that majoring in accounting is a huge waste of time for him, because in the future he knows he doesn’t want anything to do with accounting. 
     
    Since Robert is not interested in accounting, his grades have recently suffered. While his parents stress the importance of getting a high GPA, he has been stuck in the 3.2 range throughout college.
     
    Robert has just gotten his grades back for the spring quarter and he got a 3.1. His parents are upset that he was unable to get better grades. They insist that he can do better and that there is no reason why he isn’t doing so.
     
    Robert finally strikes up the courage to tell his parents that he never wants to become an accountant. He tells them that he wants to become a filmmaker. Robert’s parents tell him this is an impractical dream of his. It should be a hobby not a career path. They insist that he stays in accounting and tell him that if he doesn’t start getting better grades his future is in trouble.
     
    Many parents want to be involved in their child’s college education, especially when they are paying the bills. When is this desire to be involved reasonable guidance and when does it become intrusion? If students are 18 and adults, shouldn’t they be given freedom to be responsible for their own actions? Does Robert’s father have a right to feel upset about his low son’s low GPA? Should he be allowed to decide Robert’s major? What should Robert do?

    Useful Resources: 
     

    Choosing a Major in College: Do Parents Get a Say?

  •  Home Sweet Home

    Friday, Jun. 21, 2013

    The best student comment on "Home Sweet Home" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, July 7th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    After a long, tough finals week, Sophia has completed her freshman year of college. She can’t believe how fast the year went. She made many new friends and experienced the freedom of independence, living away from her parents for the first time in her life. Now, it’s summer break, and Sophia is returning home to work for a local restaurant. All she wants to do during break is work, go to the gym, and hang out with her old high school friends.

    Sophia’s parents are very strict and like to know where she is at all times. They also enjoy having her at home to spend time with the family, and stress the importance of academics and getting good grades. In high school, Sophia often had to stay home at nights when her friends were getting together. When Sophia was allowed out, she had to return home before her parents went to bed at midnight.

    Sophia has gotten used to the freedom of college, however. She’s 19 now, after all. She enjoys being spontaneous, making her own choices, not having to report her coordinates to her parents at all times, and staying out late. That being said, she has still been able to maintain over a 3.7 cumulative GPA in her first year at college.

    Several days after returning home for break, Sophia’s best friend from high school decides to host a reunion party. Sophia works from 10am to 4pm at the restaurant, heads to the gym, and makes it home in time for dinner at 6pm.

    At the dinner table, Sophia tells her parents she is going to the reunion party in a couple of hours. While Sophia loves to be spontaneous, her parents love to schedule out their plans well ahead of time. They inform Sophia that they’ve planned a family night and that she needs to be home to spend time with her two younger siblings.

    Conversation turns into argument. Sophia claims she is independent now and can make her own decisions. Her parents state that while she is still living under their roof, she needs to listen to their judgment. They stress they are not being the “fun police,” but are emphasizing family values. If Sophia would have told them ahead of time, they claim they would have let her go. 

    Sophia pretends to go to bed upset and sneaks out to go to the party.

    Should Sophia have snuck out to go to the party? Have you ever snuck out from home? Is Sophia independent? Should she be able to make her own decisions at home? Is it fair for Sophia’s parents to ask her to plan ahead of time, or should she be allowed to continue her spontaneous nature? Is there a point of compromise?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    Social Intelligence: Returning Home from College for the Summer

     

  •  Can You Keep a Secret?

    Monday, Mar. 25, 2013
    The best student comment on "Can You Keep a Secret?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, April 7, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     

    Scott couldn’t believe his eyes when he checked Facebook this morning. A new page, “SCU Confessions,” had just been created, and one of the first “confessions” was about him! Someone shared a story where he had gotten really drunk last week and did a few things he wasn’t proud of. Granted, he wasn’t mentioned by name, but it was a unique enough situation that everyone he knew would recognize it as being about him.

    Scott had heard about other schools starting pages like this, where people message the page administrator their secrets, hook-up stories, dirty deeds, and anything else that they would want to share anonymously. Scott initially thought these pages were hilarious, and even “liked” the ones from other schools just so that he could be entertained. However, now that he was reading something about him, he felt embarrassed and upset. Already it had 50 “likes” and counting, and several of his friends tagged him in the comments so that he would see it. To make matters worse, the post was anonymous, so he had no way of knowing who was spreading the story around.

    Scott’s friends told him to laugh it off; it wasn’t that big of a deal. Even he had to admit that the story was objectively pretty funny, and most of the other posts on the page were relatively harmless as well. On the other hand, he could envision how people would take advantage of the anonymity and could potentially cause somebody real harm.

    What do you think about Facebook college “Confessions” or “Hook-Up” pages? Do you feel like this type of anonymous sharing can be hurtful and even dangerous, or do you think it’s a harmless way to tell funny stories? Have you ever submitted anything to a page like this, or been mentioned in a post?

     

  •  Rock the Vote

    Monday, Oct. 15, 2012
    The best college student comment on "Rock the Vote" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, October 28th. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates.
     
    Maggie is voting for the first time this year. She has made a particular effort to educate herself about the important issues in her state's race for the U.S. senate.

    The issues Maggie cares most about—along with the majority of her peers—are jobs, healthcare, and education funding. She realizes that the dismal job market is looming just beyond graduation, that the current healthcare system is flawed, and education funding is lower than ever before. She has found a candidate that she fully supports and that advocates policies and changes that she feels she can trust. However, there is just one problem—she does not agree with the candidate’s permissive stance on abortion.
     
    Her friends tell her that her moral qualms about the abortion issue are vastly outnumbered by the positive qualities that her favorite candidate has to offer; however, she is having trouble accepting a candidate who directly contradicts her passionately held, pro-life position.
     
    Should Maggie vote for the candidate she thinks is less qualified to lead in this capacity, but who agrees with her stance on abortion and will legalize the morality she believes should guide U.S. policy? Or should she vote for the candidate she agrees with on every other issue, and also risk perpetuating a belief that she finds morally reprehensible? 
     
     
     
     
    Photo by mrmannnn available under a Creative Commons license on Google Images.

     

  •  Passion or Practicality?

    Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012
    Mark must decide whether to pursue his dreams or to please his parents.
    The best college student comment on "Passion or Practicality?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, September 2. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates.
     
    Mark has always loved to draw, creating images from things he’s seen around him and things he conjures up in his own imagination. He is fascinated by the fine arts, and when he pictures his future, he sees himself as a curator of an art museum, or the owner of his own gallery.
     
    There’s just one problem. With the recent economic downturn and two younger siblings to think about, Mark faces many daunting financial obstacles in order to pursue his education. As a college freshman, he’s picked up some federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but his school’s endowment is less than stellar so he hasn’t received many grants. In essence, he’s looking at about a 150k debt that he’ll have to pay off when he graduates. He plans on continuously applying for merit-based scholarships, but he knows that he’s still going to have a lot on his shoulders. With all of this to consider, his parents are encouraging to pursue something a bit more… “lucrative.” In their minds, something like business or engineering would have a much bigger return than a fine arts or art history degree. They are so serious about this, in fact, that they have decided they will only pay off Mark’s loans if he pursues something that they consider to be practical. If he chooses to pursue something in the arts, Mark will take on his debt by himself.  
     
    Mark understands the situation he is in, and wants to be realistic… Perhaps he could become a businessman and sketch on the side, or volunteer at a local museum. However, he also feels like he can’t deny the part of himself that wants to completely follow his number one passion. How can Mark deal with this tug-of-war, respecting both his family’s wishes and his own hopes for the future?
     
     
     
     
     
    Photo by cstmweb available under a Creative Commons license on Google Images.
  •  A Good Sport? Do College Athletics Build Character

    Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

    The Big Q contest for the best student response to this case is being hosted by PolicyMic, "the first democratic online news platform to engage millennials in debates about real issues."  PolicyMic rules will apply in selecting the winner of the prize, a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 4.  A link to PolicyMic follows the case.

         Nathan has always thought, to be the best, you have to believe you’re the best. Recruited to a top Division I school to play basketball, he is ruthless on the court. If he knocks a player down, the player shouldn’t have been in his way. If he scores a three in his defender’s face, he lets his opponent know how bad his defense was. Most guys dislike playing against Nathan because of his competitive callousness. But confidence, alone, can’t take you to the top, and Nathan knows that. He is the first guy to arrive at practice and the last one to leave. Nathan may be called inconsiderate, rude, and egotistical, but being the best means making other people worse than you.

         Off the court, however, Nathan seems like a totally different person. He is polite, soft spoken in class, and is willing to help others if there’s homework they don’t understand. Noticing this shift in disposition, one of Nathan’s teammates—one that Nathan had recently called out in front of the whole team—accused Nathan of being two-faced: although he tries to appear friendly off the court, he’s really just an arrogant jerk.

    Weigh in: So, is Nathan a good guy or a bad guy?  What impact have sports had on his character?  In general, do you think participating in college sports has a good or bad influence on the players?

    Useful Resources

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making SCU

    Do Sports Build Character? (Chronicle of Higher Education) 

     To be eligible to win this week's contest, you must post your comments on PolicyMic.

    Comments To PolicyMic Here

  •  I Want to Remain a Virgin

    Monday, Aug. 29, 2011

      Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate. Responses must be received by midnight September 4, 2011

    Katherine entered college with a very high standard for herself regarding sex. She is proud of her choice to remain a virgin until marriage. Now she has met the most amazing guy during the fall term of her freshman year. Max, her boyfriend, believes physical affection and even sex are important ways of showing how much two people care for each other. He has pressed Katherine to express their growing romance sexually, but so far she has said no.

    Should Katherine revise her beliefs about sex because someone she respects and wants to have a deep relationship with believes differently? His views are probably the mainstream views among their friends, she realizes.

    Should Max keep pressing her for sex? Is his bringing it up often a legitimate part of his wanting to express his love for her? Or do his frequent suggestions show a lack of respect for her beliefs?

     

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    More College Hookups, but More Virgins Too

    10 Truly Shocking Stats on STDs and College Students

     

    Photo by AWKWORDrap available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

  •  A Major Decision

    Monday, Jul. 18, 2011

    $50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, 7/24/2011

    Megha was excited to start college. During her summer orientation she started learning about all the possible majors at her university. She decided on history because it was something she was truly passionate about. In high school, she had been so inspired by her American history class that she was now reading books on the founding fathers just for pleasure. When she announces her decision to her parents, she is stunned at their reaction.They insist that she major in engineering.

    Megha has been a good all-around student, so she can certainly handle the engineering curriculum, but the subject just isn't something she can see herself pursuing for four years--let alone for an entire career. In her parents' minds, however, engineering is practical and will guarantee her a job when she graduates, while history will not.Should Megha go against her parents' wishes and declare a history major?

     

    Here are some resources that might be useful

    College Board Majors and Career Central

    Highest Paid Degrees

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

     Photo by Ben Oh available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

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