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May 24, 1959 - Image 8

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Self Port,' it of The Senior..:

HO IS the University senior? What is
he like? What has he gained from
four yeara of college experience? What
arehishopes and aspirationa for the fu-
ture?
In an attempt to discover this, The
Daily sent 22 reporters out who asked
165 seniors these questions: "What have
you gained from four years at Michigan"
and "What are yourhopes, and aspira-
tions for the future?'
The Daily makes no claims for any de-
gree of "scientific" accuracy. Reporters
used different techniques in their inter-
viewing and the sample was not random,
or at least part of it was not.
Some reporters when interviewing came
prepared with a total set of questions,
others let the interviewee free associate,
and still others attempted to probe the
interviewees to get below mere superficial
responses.
ABOUT TWO-THIRDS of the sample
was drawn somewhat at random. Re-
porters were asked to find seniors, es-
pecially those who were not their friends,
and make appointments for interviews.
Th iemaining thud of the sample was
determined by selecting every tenth sen-
ior in the student directory through the
letter 'G'
The data was then analy7cd and com-
piled by The Daily Senior editors,
There is one other factor which should
be kept in mind. Since students seldom
'ere asked specific questions, responses
are in general uncoached. A student who
complains about "spoon-feeding," or "un-
satisfactory counseling," is complaining
from some degree of strong feeling. He
has not been asked, "Is school hard
enough?" or "Is counseling adequate?"
These responses were volunteered.
DESPITE THE LACK of science that
went into this study, we suspect that a

Graduating Students Reflect
On Their College Education,
Look Toward Future Years

more careful study, while perhaps leading
to more detailed analysis, would not lead
to significantly different results. In the
first place, the trends are in many cases
far too pointed to be accidental. Appar-
ently a good many students felt the need
to say specific things, either because
they are things one is supposed to say,
or because they really felt them. In the
second place, although there seem to be
certain trends, the answers do cover a
-rent deal of ground and represent a wide
variety of opinion. A sample which in-
eludes one student who claims the Uni-
versity is trying to ram Republicanism
down the students throats to the girl
who reported "I don't think very deeply,
I got married last yeir, "and many di-
verse views isht 'ctually be a good
sample.
FROM THE 'iformation compiled, sev-
eral generalizations can safely be
nade.
First, students no matter what their
school placed great emphasis on increased
social adjustment. The phrases, "learn
how to live with people," "hour to get
alon with others," "how to understand
others" appeared again and again.
Closely related to this were a reported
increase in tolerance and something
loosely called "broadening." The. story
of the student from the small town who

was exposed to many new and different
viewpoints and backgrounds and learned
to understand them was a common one.
And no matter where they were from,
students were exposed to new possibilities
of behavior and new attitudes. While
this did not prompt them to change their
own, it did make them more aware of
the world.
DESPITE THE great'concern for social
adjustment, the students interviewed
appear to be highly self-centered. Men-
tion of the desire to do things for others,
participation in community, political or
church activities was conspicuous by its
absence. Even the choice of professions
which have a tradition of service such as
medicine, social work, and teaching was
made because "I'm interested in making
psychological studies," "it is a secure pro-
fession," or something most similar. With
the exception of a missionary and one
social worker there were remarkably
few students who wanted to give some-
thing.
Students did report an increased inter-
est in cultural activities, such as fine arts
and music.
Reports of classroom experiences and
stimulation from teachers were also no-
ticeable by their absence. It would seem
that whatever the student receives from
the University, he receives far more from
living in a large active cosmopolitan com-
munity, than he does from either the cur-
riculum or the efforts of the individual
teachers.
The following is a specific breakdown
of the responses of several undergraduate
segments of the campus.
Literary College Senior Man
CHIEF GAINS of the literary college
student from the University seem to
be a broader, more intellectual outlook-
with a goodly number of exceptions. Cul-
tural appreciation of fields such as mu-
sic and art was also stressed.
The broader outlook was expressed in
a wide variety of ways, often coupled
with a statement that the student was
more interested in people and better able
to get along with them. While some felt
the University was too big, the size may
have helped others find increased oppor-
tunities to meet people. The broader out-
look statement was usually not expanded
upon, although it was related in some
cases to fraternity living and in others to
dorm living. Occasionally an apartment
dweller commented he would have en-
joyed greater contact with other students.
Broader outlook manifested itself also
in a concern with (and in some cases an
understanding of) world problems, poli-
tically speaking, and with "the problems
of life." Expressions all seeming to show
the same tendency, varied widely-a few
commented on being able to understand
their fellow-man, others mentioned in-
creased knowledge of one's self. Intellec-
tual interests also seem to fit in here.
Students mentioned they were now "less
sure of things," equating (or relating)
this to being more intellectual.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR activities app.r-
ently played a small part in develop-
ment-a few mentioned them as being
good. On the other hand one student said
they showed that he should spend his
time studying. However, very few even
mentioned them at all,
Fraternities were most often mentioned
as a source of social development. Us-
ing that term in a broad sense-students.
learned to get along with and develop an
interest in other people; others spoke 'in
broad terms of "social maturity," per-
haps meaning social graces and still oth-
ers mentioned picking up drinking and
sex. Very few laid great stress on the fra-
ternity as the agent of the process; how-

Intellectual Curiosity
ever, most said that they had benefited
socially in the house, but felt they would
have picked up about the same things
outside. A few students attacked fraterni-
ties as lacking academic environment,
and no one mentioned a fraternity as
academically helpful; one said fraterni-
ties were wholly separate society from the
rest of the University.
Intellectual attainments occasionally
were spoken of in terms purely of the
knowledge gained here in itself-a few
mentioned the vocational training, chiefly
in science, while a few history majors
mentioned their knowledge of that field
as especially beneficial. One or two stu-
dents mentioned fields outside their ma-
jor-completely unrelated-as their chief
academic gains.
MORE GENERALLY, students spoke of
being merely "more intellectual,"
learning to think critically, to examine
all sides of a question. This was men-
tioned in a negative light-two students
mentioned the University as a "breeding-
ground of confusion."
The traditional idea that a university
fosters idealism was brought up. More
students mentioned the University was
too impractical and gave a distorted pic-
ture of life than those who said the Uni-
versity fosters idealism. One student said
he had lost his idealism, another that it
had become a more knowing idealism.
Very few mentioned specific changes in -
values. Most of those, cited religion for
example, and said they had retained their
faith after careful examination, one in-
dicated he had suspended all religious
problems while in college, one said he
had lost his religion, altogether.
A NUMBER of students indicated that
self-knowledge and a sense of respon-
sibility had come from attending the Uni-
versity. This may also be involved in
maturation, but a sizeable portion men-
tioned it specifically, without elaboration
-perhaps merely as a catchall to cover
expressions they didn't think they could
phrase.
One or two students said they had
gained only a degree at University; oth-
ers, in a difierent sense entirely, said the
degree was the most important since it
helped them into law school, or a job.
The academic atmosphere was termed
weak by two students and one criticized
the University for trying to force Repub-
licanism down everyone's throat.
(Continued on Page 10) -

After four years . . . a broader outlook

Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

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