Insights from The Book is Not Required: An Emotional and Intellectual Survival Manual for Students

Insights from The Book is Not Required: An Emotional and Intellectual Survival Manual for Students

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Insights from The Book is Not Required: An Emotional and Intellectual Survival Manual for Students

Indeed, it is difficult to find a book or a publication that captures the personal experiences that students face in their highly intensive environments. With most adults assuming that the life of a student is average and lacks any issues, it has been particularly difficult to focus on some of the specific problems and situations that students experience on a daily basis. In this respect, the publication, The Book is Not Required: An Emotional and Intellectual Survival Manual for Students, offers compelling information that actually captures the different forms of circumstances that students face throughout college. Written by Inge Bell, Bernard McGrane, John Gunderson, and Teri Anderson, The Book is Not Required explores the intensive life of the average college student by examining the disparate elements that actually define the campus experience. Such dimensions comprise personal, intellectual, technological, social, and spiritual needs and prospects. In this context, the book offers a variety of sociological insights that have assisted in reinventing my personal experiences by understanding and making sense of them.   

An Insight on Technology and Learning

One of the imperative areas that the authors focus on in relation to the college experience involves the aspect of technology. Socially, processes such as peer pressure and a need for acceptance influenced me to become part of the social media array. The division of college students into clusters or classes depending on their lifestyles and other definitive factors was not apparent to me. However, after reading about the correlations between technology and learning from the book, I learnt that most of the information relayed assumed a practical significance in my life. For instance, Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, and Anderson (2013) note that it is practically impossible to enact power over technology especially if one fails to understand its implications on one’s personal and academic life. This statement influenced me to investigate the effects of technology on my wellbeing.

Prior to exploring Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, and Anderson, I was oblivious to the implications that interactive technology imposed on me, particularly in relation to my social life and my existence as an individual. Technology as a whole assumes an important role in most colleges due to its implications on the personal, social, and intellectual life of the average student. Nonetheless, the element of technology focuses specifically on its role as an interconnective or interactive medium among students. With the explosion of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other similar forms, technology has assumed a significant role in defining social relationships among college students. Even though this may seem like a positive factor, it is also important to consider the consequences of dependence on this said medium as a significant aspect in defining my worth as a student and an individual within the intensive and dynamic college landscape.

An Insight on The Use of Secret Languages and Its Effects on Personal Understanding

Another area that the authors delve into involves the utilization of ‘secret languages’ among authors and scholars, specifically in numerous academic disciplines. Over the years in campus, I have come across numerous instances of books and studies that contain a heavy set of jargon. At one point, the use of this type of language was an insensible factor for probably most students and me. In several occasions, lecturers or teachers urged us to understand the meanings behind the complex words used by various academic scholars in relation to the different disciplines within the course. As such, it was simple to ignore the implications of such language on effective understanding of the information or findings advanced within a particular subject by the author. However, ignoring the restrictive effects of jargon language in most disciplines, especially the social sciences, stifled my complete understanding of issues and problems that are common in the modern society.

Accordingly, insights provided from the book enabled me to understand that academic jargon only functions as a medium capable of concealing reality and limiting dissent among persons who would otherwise counter the arguments if they were provided in a simplistic and easy-to-understand language. Aside from this, the book also makes sense of the proclivity towards the use of jargonistic language among scholars and academicians in particular disciplines. Foremost, Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, and Anderson (2013) reveal that the utilization of secret languages in various disciplines is actually a result of control and manipulation imposed on scholars in order for them to engage in perpetuating such lingo. For instance, one of the aspects identified comprises the influences that arise from control by the upper class. With such influences, scholars and academicians, in their quest to ‘educate’ the public only end up doing the opposite in an attempt to stifle knowledge that may be useful in sparking criticism of the current and unbalanced system.  

An Insight on the Separation of Individuality from the Self

This particular area possesses a significant relationship to the former discourse on the use of academic jargon in various disciplines within colleges. However, in this case, the main issue lies in terms of objectivity. Personally, college life has taught me to exude rationality, especially when it comes to argumentative issues. For instance, problems such as racism, gender equality, and issues based on morality and ethics are rather confrontational. In this case, one is usually advised to be objective in their reasoning by supporting the claims that he or she advances with facts. The implications of scholarly objectivity further restrict the student from expressing his or her opinions regarding a variety of issues. As such, even though the opinions may express a disregard for particular occurrences taking place within society as an outcome of a factor such as upper-class control, then such opinions may be discarded easily due to the control established by such classes in an effort to control individual critical thinking.

In making sense of this aspect, I discovered that the inclination towards objectivity only restricted me from expressing my own opinions on certain matters. Even though it is particularly important to desist from value judgments due to the implications they pose in advancing bias, it is more imperative to know yourself and express your sentiments on social wrongs. Additionally, I also realized that refraining from expressing value judgments regarding certain social issues comprises a subconscious tactic used by the upper class to maintain social order via academic institutions. Accordingly, social order is maintained by a correlation of social institutions and norms. Hence, in an effort to avert chaos, the aspect of scholarly objectivity has been used manipulatively to restrict people from expressing honest sentiments concerning some of the unethical processes and amoral social issues taking place in the society as an outcome of intervention from the upper class. However, by examining The Book is Not Required thoroughly, I learnt that it is important to “never separate yourself, who you are and how you experience life, from your studies” (Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, & Anderson, 2013; p. 84).

An Insight on Socialization and Conditioning

The focus on socialization and conditioning reveals the extent to which people, specifically students, are influenced to fixate on stressful things and experiences. Interestingly, students are the victims of their own conditioning based on the way they have been predisposed to think. Nonetheless, even though it is positive to gain advice or insight from other people, particularly those above us, it is still imperative to maintain a personal and foremost perception of the manner in which we intend to live without it being influenced by other people’s thoughts. Simply, we tend to see the world in a way perpetuated by our instructors, teachers, parents, as well as the media. However, in light of this, we are not largely aware of the way in which we perceive the world. This is because our senses and thoughts on life have been corrupted by musings of external parties, despite us being the ones in control of our own lives.

Based on the implications of socialization and conditioning on the perception of life, the authors illustrate the extent to which the viewpoint of the average student regarding his or her life has been affected and disrupted by the opinions of their superiors (Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, & Anderson, 2013). In this case, various strategies have been provided in order to change the ways in which students perceive and live within their own social contexts. Personally, one of the strategies that establish meaning comprises ‘slowing down’ (Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, & Anderson, 2013). In this respect, the exercise allows the student to experience the movements of his or her routine life at half of the usual speed they apply. The aim of the practice is to ensure that students enjoy their current lives without focusing considerably or stressing on the uncertainities of the future.

Sidebar: Reflections on Socialization and Conditioning Based on the Media

Still on the issue of socialization and conditioning, the authors also illustrate the extent to which the media influences the manner in which people view the world as well as the way we live. Personally, media has affected the way in which I perceive the world and the society that I occupy. According to Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, and Anderson (2013), the media intercedes between the instant world and us by influencing our definitions and perceptions of the world in a definite way. This presumption makes considerable sense due to the ways most of us tend to have different opinions on certain occurrences or persons. For instance, most Americans usually possess negative stereotypes regarding different foreign nationalities such as Africans and Arabians. The media commonly depicts Africans as uneducated and corrupt savages with a tendency to undergo simple manipulation under the influences of Caucasian-based races. Additionally, Arabians, particularly Muslims, are seen as criminals with agendas based specifically on participation in terrorism against Americans. In this sense, media conditions students and influences the manner in which they socialize amongst themselves by creating different social classes based on social elements.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the publication, The Book is Not Required: An Emotional and Intellectual Survival Manual for Students, provides a rational way that the science of sociology can be applied in understand larger institutions within the society. The authors, Bell, McGrane, Gunderson, and Anderson, utilize a variety of sociological evaluations in order to expose the manners in which certain aspects evident in the campus experience assist in reproducing persons that are rather subservient to authority. Based on its information, the book provides a variety of insights that are assistive to me. These insights fit perfectly in my own experiences as a student and provide me with the opportunity of making sense of the respective experiences. One of these insights involves my understanding of technology and its effects on my learning. From the musings of the authors, I learnt that technology, specifically as a communication medium, imposes a variety of psychological and social consequences that actually affect one’s learning if it is not controlled. Another insight that I gained from the book involves the use of jargon. Understanding the reasons behind the use of secret languages in social sciences enabled me to take notice of the wider social dimensions such as upper class control and their implications on furtherance of this form of language despite its negative effect on comprehension. Lastly, insights on the self and socialization also revealed the reasons as to why we perceive the world.

Reference

Bell, I., McGrane, B., Gunderson, J., & Anderson, T. L. (2013). This book is not required: An emotional and intellectual survival manual for students. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

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