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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.

  •  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.

  •  Living Situations

    Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

     Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate. Responses must be received by midnight August 29, 2011

     

    With his acceptance to his first-choice school, a medium-sized private university far from his hometown, Mo gets a package of information about his options for dorm living. He’s heard a lot about the various Residential Learning Communities on campus, each of which focuses on a different theme. As an African American, Mo is interested in exploring his racial and cultural identity, so he’s drawn to the African American–themed dorm, United. But then he wonders whether living in United will limit his interactions with students from other communities. He doesn’t want to be defined entirely by being African American, but he also doesn’t want to feel isolated in a dorm where there may be no other African American students.

    Should Mo choose the United dorm knowing it may allow him the best chance to explore his ethnic identity, or should he opt for another residence hall where the dorm’s theme may attract a wider variety of students?

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    The Impact of Diversity on College Students

    Why Does Diversity Matter in College Anyways?

     

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

     

  •  Facebook Gossip or Cyberbullying?

    Monday, Aug. 15, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 21, 2011.

    Paige, a college freshman, needed to put the finishing touches on a poli sci paper that was due at 11. After her 9 a.m. class, she returned to her room in the residence hall to check the footnotes, but when she unlocked the door, her roommate Cheyenne was in bed with the comforter pulled up above her head.

    Paige flicked on the light. It wasn't her problem that Cheyenne was such a party girl. She hadn't come home the night before, and that was hardly the first time. She decided to ignore Cheyenne and opened her laptop to begin her work. But when she started typing, Cheyenne growled at her to go somewhere else.

    Paige had told some friends to come by her room before class, and now she had to let them know she wouldn't be there. On her way out of the residence hall, she posted a new status to her Facebook: "Cheyenne (AKA the skank) is sleeping it off in the room. I'll be in the library."

    By the time she reopened her laptop, her friend Ivy had commented on her status: "That girl is going to be pregnant before midterms." And Leanne followed with lol.

    Paige was astonished when she got back from dinner that night to be approached by Tara, the Resident Fellow on her floor. Tara said she wanted to talk with Paige about cyberbullying Cheyenne.

    Do you think Paige was engaged in cyberbullying? If so, do you think the university should get involved in the issue?

     

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

     Destructive Bullying 

    Facebook Crimes on Rise

     

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

  •  Rush

    Monday, Aug. 8, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 14, 2011.

    When Bobby first arrived on campus, he didn't know a single person. Making an effort to meet people, Bobby went to a fraternity party where the members tried to convince him to come out for rush the following week. They seemed pretty cool, and Bobby was excited to have met some new guys who seemed to like him already. Bobby has heard all the typical fraternity stereotypes: heavy partiers, skirt chasers, users, etc. He has also heard that fraternities can act as very exclusive clubs, and that brothers only interact with other members. However, Bobby also knows that stereotypes are often wrong.

    While Bobby has never been a huge partier, and he really doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a "frat boy," he really does want to find a good setting to get to know his classmates. Should he go out for rush and see what it's like or wait for another opportunity to meet people?

    Here are some resources you might find useful:

    Going Greek: The Pros and Cons

    Hazing Study

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

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

  •  Dangerous Curves

    Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 7, 2011.

    Francesca is taking an introductory chemistry class this quarter with a bunch of people from her dorm. Knowing that chemistry is not her strongest subject, she studies regularly. Before the midterm, her friends from the dorm go out partying, but she stays up all night going over the material.

    Francesca goes into the exam feeling somewhat confident. She knows the professor will grade on the curve, and she will probably do better than her dormmates, who have hardly cracked the book. During the exam the professor leaves the room temporarily. While he is gone, Francesca notices Nick, a guy from her dorm, sneakily pulling out his IPod and consulting a crib sheet he has downloaded. He then passes the IPod over to Chloe. Both of them notice her watching, and wink at her.

    Should Francesca inform the professor of this cheating? Won't her dormmates suspect she was the "snitch"? She has to live with these people for the rest of the year.

     

    Here are some resources you might find useful

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Cheating in College is Widespread - But Why?

    What Does It Really Mean to Curve Grades?

     

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

     

  •  Should I Call the EMTs?

    Monday, Jul. 25, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight July 31.

    It had been a long second week of freshman year. Roommates Sally and Morgan were ready for the weekend. On Friday night, they heard about an upcoming party and decided to check it out. The beer was plentiful, and even though they were underage, Sally and Morgan were welcome to drink as much as they wanted.

    As the night progressed, Morgan, who had very little experience with alcohol in high school, started to feel sick, so Sally helped her back to the dorm. When they got to the dorm bathroom, Morgan passed out next to the sink.

    Sally wasn't sure what she should do. She had heard that there were EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) on campus to help in this situation. But she'd also heard that when you called the EMTs, you got fined and "written up." She didn't want to get in trouble or to make trouble for Morgan, but she thought her friend might be really ill.

    Facts about Alcohol Poisoning

    Alcohol Medical Emergency Policies at Colleges and Universities 

    College Drinking: When Friends Get into Trouble 

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by Laughing Squid 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.

  •  Sexiled

    Monday, Jul. 11, 2011

     $50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, July 17th.

    Brad and Wilson are roommates. Brad is an outgoing, free-spirited, notorious "ladies man." Wilson prefers to spend his time in the dorm, reading and doing homework. At first, they got along well, with their personalities complementing each other.  But then Brad started bringing women to the room unannounced. During the day, he'd make some not very subtle comment about wanting to be alone and expect Wilson to split.  Sometimes he brought a date home for a "sleepover," and he seemed not to care if Wilson stayed in the room.  But that made Wilson feel like a voyeur, so he slept on the couch in the lounge.  Once he even missed class because, without his alarm clock, he overslept.

    Wilson doesn't want to upset Brad by asking him not to bring women back to the dorm so late and so often, nor does he want their friendship to become awkward or tense.   But he'd also like the use of his own room.  How should he approach this problem with Brad?

    Here are some resources that might be useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Sexiling 101

    7 Tips for a Better Rommate Experience

     

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

     

     

  •  Why Am I Here?

    Tuesday, Jul. 5, 2011

    $50 Amazon giftcard for best comment.  Deadline Sunday, July 10, midnight.

    Junior and senior year in high school sometimes seemed like one long slog to Christina.  Between the PSATs, the SATs, the APs, the ACTs, her GPA, her sports practices, and her job tutoring, everything was oriented toward polishing her resume and getting her into college.

    She went through the entire application process because that's what everyone expected her to do.  Now she was in, an undeclared freshman, she couldn't help wondering what she was doing here.  Was it right for her to be spending so much of her parents' money on college when she didn't even know what she wanted to study?  Was she taking the slot of someone else who would have really known what she wanted from her education?  Was college just going to be a repeat of that stressful high school experience, where she felt like she was always preparing for the future but not really living her life?

  •  Party!

    Monday, Jun. 27, 2011

    Starting the first week of Will's freshman year at a large state university, there was always a party going on. There were frat parties, tailgates, theme parties, and dances. Even within Will's dorm, some group was always having a good time--playing poker, watching movies, or just hanging out.

    At first, Will enjoyed the social scene and getting to know people; he didn't see a problem with adjusting to the social atmosphere before really getting into the academics. But two months into college, he found himself behind in a couple of classes, and handing in work that he wasn't very proud of. He would promise himself to study, but then get sidetracked when one of his buddies dropped by his room and asked him to go out.

    Will had come to college to prepare himself for a career in law, and he knew he needed to perform reasonably well to get into law school. But he also figured that college was supposed to the best time in his life, which it certainly wasn't going to be if all he did was study. What was the right balance? What difference would it make either way?

    Some Interesting Facts and Resources

    About 29 percent of incoming students chose their colleges based on the reputation of their "social activities."

    Chronicle of Higher Education, 2003

    Most guides recommend about 2 hours of study a week for each hour in the classroom. Generally this will work out to between 30 and 45 hours. But the National Survey of Student Engagement found that many students try to get by on far less. Of freshmen at four-year residential colleges, only 12 percent spent 26 hours or more preparing for class.

    "A" students average 3.1 drinks per week
    "B" students average 4.4 drinks per week
    "C" students averages 5.6 drinks per week
    "D" and "F" students average 9.5 drinks per week The Bacchus Network

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by mel_rowling available under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.