Chapter Activities – The Social World of College

Chapter Takeaways

  • An active social life and social interaction with a variety of people on campus contribute to college students’ well-being and overall academic success.
  • Successfully interacting with diverse others requires effective communication skills, including both listening skills and assertive communication rather than passive or aggressive communication.
  • Social interaction can be heightened by productive and moderate online networking.
  • Time management and study skills help one avoid problems when balancing social life and academic studies.
  • To prevent or resolve conflicts that may occur in any social interaction, maintain an attitude of respect for others, be open minded and willing to compromise, and know how to work together calmly to resolve conflicts.
  • Diversity on campus is beneficial for all students, not just those from ethnic or minority groups. The wider perspectives of students from different backgrounds and the greater variety of teaching methods help everyone gain more fully in educational experiences. Socially, students develop a more mature worldview and are better prepared for interacting with a diverse world in the future.
  • Multiculturalism involves an attitude of respect for the ideas, feelings, behaviors, and experiences of others who differ from oneself in any way. Colleges promote both diversity in the student body and multiculturalism among all students.
  • To gain a multicultural perspective, challenge your own learned stereotypes while you learn more about other cultural groups. Understanding what can be learned from others leads to celebrating the diversity found on most campuses.
  • Take a personal responsibility both for broadening your own social world and for speaking out against prejudice and discrimination wherever encountered.
  • Take advantage of campus opportunities to increase your cultural awareness and to form social relationships with diverse others. Organized campus groups and events can help you broaden your horizons in many beneficial ways.
  • Participation in campus clubs and other organizations is not only fun and a good way to reduce stress but also helps develop social, intellectual, and technical skills that may serve you well in your future career or other endeavors.

Chapter Review

  1. List at least three benefits of social interaction with a variety of different people on your college campus.
  2. Describe what is involved in being a “good friend” to someone you have just recently met.
  3. What can you do to demonstrate that you are really listening to the other person in a conversation?
  4. Mark each of the following communication strategies as passive, assertive, or aggressive:
    • Showing your very critical reaction to another’s ideas: _________________
    • Agreeing with everything another person says: _________________
    • Hesitating to say something the other may disagree with: _________________
    • Being honest and confident when expressing your ideas: _________________
    • Joking sarcastically about something the other says: _________________
    • Offering your opinion while respecting other opinions: _________________
  5. True or false: Interactions on Facebook can strengthen one’s personal relationships with others and make it easier to participate socially in a group.
  6. Give two examples of how you can use time management skills to ensure you get your studies done while still maintaining an active social life.
  7. Write an “I statement” sentence you might say to prevent a heated argument with another student who has just told a sexist joke.
  8. Imagine this scenario: eight white college students between the ages of eighteen and twenty from a large U.S. city are spending a summer in a poverty-stricken rural Indonesian village in a volunteer project. Describe several behavioral characteristics of these students as an ethnic minority group that may not be understood by the villagers.
  9. Imagine yourself working in your chosen career five years from now. Describe two experiences you may have in that career for which your current experience with diverse people on campus may help prepare you.
  10. What insights into your own attitudes, behaviors, or values have you gained through interactions with others different from yourself? Think of specific aspects of yourself that you have come to view in a new light.
  11. What’s wrong with the following statement? “People are what they are and you can’t change them. The best thing you can do when someone’s showing their prejudice is just walk away and don’t let it bother you.”
  12. As you read the chapter section on clubs and organizations and all the possibilities that are likely on your campus, what thoughts did you have about your own interests? What kind of club would be ideal for you? If your college campus happens not to have that club at present, would you get together with others with similar interests to start one?
  13. Read this case study and answer the following questions:The International Student Office is sponsoring South Asian Night, a celebration in which students from this region will be showcasing their cultures and ethnic foods. Two groups of students, from India and Pakistan, have had disagreements during the planning and rehearsals. They have argued about how much time each group is allotted for their performances and how high on the evening’s agenda their performances are scheduled. The conflict escalates and threatens cancellation of the whole celebration, which the school and the campus community have been looking forward to.
    1. If you were the director of the International Student Office, how would you handle this situation?
    2. What would you say to these two groups of students? What process would you use?

Outside the Book

  1. Visit your college’s Web site and look for a section on student activities and organizations. Try to identify two or three groups you might be interested to learn more about.
  2. Next time you walk across campus or through the student center, stop to look at bulletin boards and posters. Look for upcoming events that celebrate cultural diversity in some way. Read the information in detail and imagine how much fun the event might be while you also learn something new. Then ask a friend to go with you.
  3. Go to—a Web site of the American Anthropological Association—and take the short online sports quiz. Many things have been said about why certain races or people from certain geographic areas excel at certain sports. People often talk about differences in biology and other differences among ethnic groups as related to sports. How much is true, partly true, or blatantly false? How much do you know about what are real or not real differences?

Make an Action List


Sometimes I’m not as good a friend as I could be because I


I will work on the following things to be a better friend:


Social Interaction

Sometimes I have difficulty interacting well with these people:


I will use these communication techniques for more successful interactions in the future:


Communication Style

Sometimes I am too passive when talking with these people:


I can do these things to be more assertive in my communication:


Balance of Studies and Social Life

I sometimes don’t get enough studying done because I am busy doing the following:


I will ensure I have enough time for studying by taking these steps:


Family Life

Since I am so busy with college now, I may have ignored my relationship(s) with


I will do better to stay in touch by


Diversity on Campus

I admit to knowing very little about these groups of people I often see on campus:


By this time next year, I hope to be more culturally aware as a result of doing these things more often:


Campus Activities

I would really enjoy doing the following one thing more often with other people:


To participate in this activity with a variety of people, I will look on campus for a club or group such as the following:


I can do these things to learn more about this club: