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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.

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  •  Fast Friends: Rushing Intimate Relationships

    Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

    We’ve all heard that “your greatest friends come in college”—those lifelong friends that you toast to at the Grand Reunion or dance the night away with at your wedding reception. As freshmen, we envision ourselves surrounded by this core group of loyal companions from the get-go. We’re expected to post pictures of our fabulous new BFFs on Facebook and form an inseparable clique within a matter of weeks.

    When we come to college, we don’t want to wait around. We need friends, and we need them quickly! We rush relationships. We talk about our successes and failures, our home lives and our love lives, our fears and our ambitions.  

    The problems arise when we over-share and try to force intimacy.  Relationships don’t need to be physical to be intimate; close friendships are intimate in an emotional way. Premature intimacy of any kind can lead to heartache.
    Imagine that you’ve had a rough day. For comfort, you confide in a new friend, Sam. After a night of venting, you decide to share a troubling secret—you feel safe.
    The next day, however, you’re approached by a stranger in the hallway.  The stranger places his hands on your shoulders, and says, “Hey, Sam told me what happened. Feel better!”
    What!? Your new friend spilled. You’re hurt, but you doubt that Sam shared your secret maliciously. Either way, what do you do? There’s an imbalance of trust.
     
    Healthy relationships depend upon a strong foundation of trust, and trust takes time. Think carefully about your closest friends. How long have they been around? Many of our dearest friends have held prominent positions in our lives for one, five, or maybe even ten years. Often, you’ve grown up with one another, from the toddler diaper days to the teenaged braces phase. You’ve seen everything—the good and the bad. You’ve endured catty high school drama or vigorous sports team practices side-by-side. You know each other inside and out.
     
    During the beginning of college anonymity seems devastating, yet friendships with unreciprocated trust may sting just as badly.  What has been your experience with friendship in college?  When do you know you can trust someone?  How do you define true friendship?
  •  Picking Up the Slack

    Monday, Mar. 11, 2013
    The best student comment on "Picking Up the Slack" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 24, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Greg and Natalie have been in business classes together since freshman year. While they’re not close friends, they have always enjoyed each other’s company in class and have been in the same social circle as they’ve moved from lower division courses to where they are now: senior capstone. Greg and a few of his friends invite Natalie to join their group at the start of the term, and they begin to work on their project.
     
    Fairly quickly, though, Greg realizes that Natalie isn’t pulling her weight. Any aspect of the project that’s assigned to her has to be redone by other members of the group, she doesn’t pay attention in meetings, and she consistently shows up late or hung over. Greg and his other groupmates think that Natalie needs to step it up and take this project seriously, but they ultimately agree it would be more trouble than it’s worth to confront her about it. They decide to just push through and let her do her own thing. Natalie continues to participate marginally in discussions, planning, and writing, but makes it clear through her actions that their final presentation is not her biggest priority. 
     
    After Greg’s group gives its final presentation, the members are asked to write an evaluation on their teammates that the professor will use to determine individual grades. When it comes to most of his teammates, Greg easily gives them all A’s and B’s for their participation and contributions to the project. However, when Greg comes to Natalie’s evaluation, he is faced with a dilemma.  It’s their last big project before graduation, and if he were to evaluate her in a harsh way, it could negatively affect her cumulative GPA. He doesn’t want to throw her under the bus; however, her apathy and poor work ethic put a huge burden on everyone else’s shoulders, and Greg had to personally sacrifice a lot of time and effort to make up for her mistakes or tasks that she left undone.
     
    Is it worth giving her an honest evaluation, just so the professor will give her the grade she deserves? Or is giving her a bad evaluation petty and unnecessary, considering that they are all about to graduate and their group received an A, regardless of her performance?
     
     
     
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