My Adventures Through English 101

“I’ll only focus on academics, who needs a social life?” This was me before attending Western Washington University. See, in high school, I was a shy person. The whole aspect of starting anew in an environment full of strangers was intimidating. I wanted friends, but I prepared myself for the worst. If I didn’t make any friends it would be okay. I was wrong though. I began making loads of friends and found it easy to socialize with other college students. I started noticing my personality change and it was like I was a new person. I no longer was the shy person in high school but the outgoing girl in college.

I commenced writing about my drastic social change and expanded on the subject while in English 101. Throughout the course I completed assignments circling around my topic of social life and diversity. These assignments revealed new methods, techniques, and concepts. Margaret Starry, my English 101 instructor, introduced projects such as the Podcast Project and the OAT Project. Both of these projects were strange to me because they required me to complete tasks that my high school english classes did not. The projects involved interviewing my peers, the use of internet websites such as SoundCloud, and the use of apps like Garageband, etc.

Nonetheless, these projects helped me improve on my writing style and made me explore new methods and mediums while writing. Working on the assigned tasks in a way that was new to me captured my attention and changed my perspective on the course overall. During this winter quarter of taking this class I formulated questions and developed theories that helped in explaining my reasonings.

In my Podcast Project I explored social life on campus and how it differed from their social life in high school. I was intrigued by college students interacting with each other and lessening the creation of cliques and stereotypical groups. In my OAT Project I noted the diversity on campus and how that affected the social aspect of college. Through my OAT Project I soon developed the “Culture Explosion Theory” which is the idea that when college students embark on their journey through college they encounter people with different beliefs, ideals, values, race, and culture.

In my own experience college is more laid back than high school and creates an atmosphere where everyone interacts with each other. The fact that everyone can interact with each other reduces the so called cliques and stereotypes. With this in mind I incorporated research and found my university to have a low percentage of colored people. Western Washington University had less than 30 percent of its student population to be of color. Being on campus myself I did not see many people of color, but seeing it as a percentage was a bit surprising.

What was interesting though was to find out that the former Western President, Bruce Shepard, had a call for diversity that triggered controversy. In a convocation speech, Bruce Shepard said, “… if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university.” This statement alone sparked a discussion and there were people on both sides of the argument. Some were with Shepard and agreed that there needed to be more diversity, while others disagreed and even went to the extremes of calling Bruce a racist towards white people.

In my opinion, Bruce was correct in trying to make Western a more diverse campus. My “Culture Explosion Theory” encourages the expansion of one’s interactions with people of different backgrounds. College is the ideal place to socialize and be exposed to people outside of one’s own culture and thus have an explosion of culture brought to them. In doing so we can create a diverse environment and an equal-opportunity campus. Exploring these topics in English 101 truly helped me in gathering my thoughts and expressing them. I give credit to the GUR in improving my writing skills and making me see writing in a new light.