Resist Conformity


OK, so a few of you asked me what I would change about Bucknell.  Funny about 2 weeks ago I got invited to talk to the new Mg 100 class which was my first chance ever to address all the BSBAs EARLY in their academic lives.  I wanted to end with this slide (but ran out of time…):

5 Things I Wish About Every Senior

•Be a good information citizen-cite, label, source
•When you see a problem, think of a solution
•Foster a love of learning
•Be more autonomous
•The Campus Climate issue: let yourself be different.  Resist conformity.

But, this post is about one change I would like to see.

Don’t hate me.  You asked.

Resist conformity.

That is it for me.  In my experiences here as a teacher, mentor, and just community member, I almost always find students more engaging, vital, curious, and distinct people individually than in groups.  I have this idea in my head that you collectively were more diverse before you came here.  And you become so when you leave.  So, what happens here?  Why do students see the student body as a whole as career-ist, apathetic or conservative, party-oriented, grade-obsessed, superficial, and saccharine? In other words, my impression is that students on average imagine the student body as a whole to display qualities that they don’t think apply to them, personally.

But that makes no sense.  It is like how Americans hate congress but love their congressperson.  Congress is made up of all the representatives each district loves.  Likewise, the student body is made up of all of you, one at a time.  How can it be less full of authentic people than each of you individually?

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About Jordi

I am an assistant professor in the Management School at Bucknell University. I specialize in organization theory, social networks, and studying the network society. I have three children, including twins. They love bouncing on the couch, legos, music, and my waffles. My wife teaches English at the same university. I am interested in most things, but these days, networks, social entrepreneurs, the environment, innovation, and virtual worlds. Finding Hidden Abodes and Shaking Iron Cages since 1972
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3 Responses to Resist Conformity

  1. Cander says:

    Jordi, I’m trying to wrap my head about your main argument here. Do you think this is a perception problem within Bucknell students that requires self-reflection in the student body or that not enough Bucknell students are willing to buck or question that seemingly-overwhelming stereotype?

  2. Jordi says:

    Good question. Can I say both? More self-reflection would enable students to see that there is more internal diversity than they realize. More realization would enable more conformity-bucking. And I mean at very micro-levels, such as initiating conversations, changing language, altering how one sees oneself or friends.

  3. Cander says:

    Interesting thought. My quick two cents would say it’s a combination of both. However, some of this seems to be a function of groupthink in general, but awareness of one’s place within that group is just as important.

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