Rebekah Nathan chronicles an anthropological experience she had as an anonymous observer in the dorms of her own university. An interesting book overall, but not as well written as I would have hoped.

During her “Freshman Year”, Nathan assumes a false identity as an older woman who has decided to go back and finish college and lives in the dorms during the week but goes home on the weekends because it’s easier to get school work done that way, etc.

She’s really just trying to get an inside look at how college freshman behave when nobody in authority is watching them or asking them how they behave.

She found that most self-reported “professional” surveys/studies of college behaviors and attitudes did not match actual attitudes and behaviors among students. From reported diversity and actual de-facto segregation to reported study times far exceeding actual time spent in the library, her exposé of reported vs. actual college behavior is revealing.

I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but college students and professors, even high school teachers, should give this a read. It’s thick, but it raises important questions that people involved in the school system should be asking themselves.

3/5 stars. Not much stuck with me, since it was more technical than anecdotal.

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