Discussion Board 4

Write a response to Kenneth Oldfield’s “Humble and Hopeful” essay. You can discuss any topic that you found interesting while you read the piece. Post your response by 12:00pm, 2/13. A response that is posted later than the deadline will not be counted.


17 Responses to Discussion Board 4

  1. rnreagan says:

    Kenneth Oldfield makes an interesting point in his essay with a unique point of view. He refers to the working class going to college as a “change in culture” which I feel is a valid point that I have not previously considered. Oldfield brings up the sense of intimidation and lack of comfort experienced by first generation college students. He argues that the campus should be more inviting for the working-class students. However, I feel no matter what socioeconomic status you are coming to college from you will experience some sort of discomfort and feel out of your element at first. College in general is a whole different feel from any other, but I do believe it is true the leap must be larger for the working-class as opposed to what Oldfield refers to as the “privileged” students. Without personal experience it is difficult to agree or disagree with his statements.


  2. wpaden says:

    Kenneth Oldfield, in his essay, relays the struggles and hardships faced by the first generation “poor and working class” students. He recalls his own experiences as an example of what things he, himself had to go through as a first generation college student in his family. I empathize with what he went through as I could relate it to my own personal experiences as a first generation student. Having a peer as well as a faculty mentor was one of his suggestions, where they could freely talk about anything and help out the student. I personally feel that it is a really good idea, and colleges should certainly adopt it as one of their programs. It would make the student more comfortable in the new environment and would surely help them adjust faster to their new colleges, as these mentors have already went through the same phase and they would probably have the best advices and experiences to share.


  3. bohdantr says:

    I’ve been in a few college settings and have not noticed the problem of people from low SES not having enough cultural capital. The only instance of class difference I can recall was when someone told me about a fraternity which only accepts pledges from very wealthy families. That I was ignorant of the problems the author suggests may explain why the issues aren’t acknowledged as much as the author would like (because people aren’t aware of them). Or they may not be as real as the author suggests.
    He explains that the majority of university students are from upper SES families. This may give people from low SES backgrounds a feeling of exclusion. But I think, for students of the current generation, cultural capital is less dependent on SES than in past decades. This is because the internet is more accessible than in the past, and it brings democratization of information. If anyone is academically curious they can learn the difference between and medical doctor and a PhD, for example. Also, I think the internet has a cultural leveling affect, because content representing different cultures is easily accessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ejmeyer says:

    Kenneth Oldfield makes some interesting points in his essay about making higher education more reasonable to those coming from a lower class social status.one that stood out to me was when he mentioned that universities should make programs specified toward those first generation students to help them become more suited to the college life. Also, he stated that top universities should start accepting students with promising enrollment scores. I personally don’t agree with this. IV league universities are that way for a reason, they don’t accept everyone and they are expensive because the best can only afford to go there. Many universities allow students to get involved and become more comfortable with college life but it up to students to initiate this. I feel it is wrong to almost give a special privilege to people who never had a parent go to college.


  5. teanchen says:

    Kenneth Oldfield wrote this essay in a very interesting perspective. He described a few viewpoints of how he sees the college society, and how he wished he could know these things earlier. He first used the perspective of a student to describe how he thinks about PhD, and professors. Then, through out the essay, he used the perspective of a professor to describe and comment on the students. It was interesting to read about how the poor and working class students think; especially in our generation, we should learn more and care more about them and not just live in our own bubbles. There was a part of the essay that grabbed my attention, where students said, “he wanted college to give people more job skills, and not all this literature and philosophy stuff.” It is exactly what majority of college students think in our generations, even myself. And now I think of it, college is actually a place that teaches you to enjoy life, because it is a place where you develop your interests and talents.


  6. chrisveress says:

    One point that Kenneth Oldfield makes is the separation between socioeconomic classes. Before I came here to UB I went to St. Lawrence which is a private school that is very expensive. When I arrived on campus and began to know the people there I could tell there was a difference between me and them in an economic way. I come from an average middle class family and I had to take out big student loans in order to attend that university. I could tell almost immediately that I did not fit it. Most of the other students there came from well to do families and had almost no student loans, so they did not have much to worry about. I on the other hand had to worry about paying those loans back. Another thing I noticed was the way they acted and dressed. The students there wore very nice clothes form companies I had never heard of before I attended SLU. Also they acted very different from the people I knew back home, they acted very snobby and upitty. I know that is a stereotype but many of them displayed that. I feel like the separation of classes is very prevalent and known across universities in the united states. It is a very real thing that I myself have dealt with and so have many others. It is something that I do not think we will be able to get rid of there will always be those stigmas and stereotypes between classes, it is just something that is apart of this culture and our education system. To get rid of this we would have to look at our country as a whole.


  7. gunhoko says:

    Kenneth Oldfield uses the term “Socioeconomic Status” to describe and explain the difficulties encountered by the students from the working class families. Interestingly, I also thought about this concept in the past. The only differences were that I thought about this from a totally different perspective and that I did not have a specific term to describe the idea. Attending a university in a country, where I do not originally come from, made me to start thinking about this idea. As an international student, attending a university in the States is incomparably expensive than attending a university in my home country. However, there are still so many international students, most of whom are from wealthy families. After having a number of conversations with other international students, I found out that some did not meet the criteria to attend the so-called “prestigious” universities. However, many of them were from very wealthy families, while some were unimaginable. Since then, I began to believe that insufficient grades could be fulfilled by the economic backgrounds or the higher “Socioeconomic Status” of the student’s family. Reading an essay, which explained the idea from a totally opposite view, was very interesting.


  8. aidanobr says:

    Kenneth Oldfield has many inquisitive viewpoints, but in my personal opinion I felt as if he played the victim too much. Also I enjoyed the term “Socioeconomic” and what it stood for. But as I began reading more into the essay I felt as if the socioeconomic gap was widening due to his victim role. I felt that he wanted current college kids to take full blame for their inherent advantage which they could be very much as unaware of as he. So by forcing the general public to accommodate that much might widen the gap more than close it. besides all of this I very much enjoyed the anecdote of his discovery of his discovery of the purpose of higher education, I connected and agreed with both his viewpoint and conclusion and also applicable to my everyday life.


  9. dershent says:

    I found the article by Kenneth Oldfield is trying to call on it’s readers to push for a cultural reform in society and especially in colleges. I found the author have a tendency to be biased is quite strong in the article. Although he have a valid concern about the poor and working class’s first generation college students and how if not address may affect the widening of the gap between social economic status among students or even society. His article i felt had some provocation toward other social economic status other than his own, like how i found his lesson 4 was putting down some others failure and glorifying his own. Kenneth tried to play the victim a lot in his article, a bit too much in my opinion. He victimise himself when he wanted to push a point over to the readers, i found that to be too manipulative of him. His article do states a lot of valid concern and good points but i feel that he should be more humble and more impartial toward the situation when writing this article. His self glorification and put on victimisation may disconcert many readers.


  10. junhyeoperic says:

    Kenneth Oldfield shares six lessons he wishes he had known as a working-class, first-generation college student and argues that higher education should pay more attention to first-generation and class status among students, faculty, and staff. As I read this paper, I felt about the college more deeply. Furthermore I realize any college we can find in world are at the same situation such as my home country is having same problems Kenneth is trying to share with us. It was not pleasant to read this paper. It was quite forced us to see what his point is and try to be followers the path he is going. Just it is kind of something I would not finish to read this paper if I do not have to. Also since I do not think I have been in similar situation as his. I think it is kind of hard to agree with his point too much.


  11. adamnethero says:

    Kenneth Oldfield makes a lot of good points on the struggles of a first generation college student, my favorite being knowing the true purpose of college. Often times in life, when the road map includes not only the goal, but reason, the goal is made more real. The goal of college as he put it was to learn more ways to enjoy life. You learn skills to become more employable, but you also become more well rounded. Having a more diverse experience leads to having a broader pool of experiences to draw upon later in life. From my experience, this is key in success.


  12. Kenneth Oldfield shares an interesting point, that each student from different SES brings different amount of assets when they arrive in their higher education institution, college and university. And this asset is not entirely about monetary, but also the educational, social and cultural background. This amount of assets is directly involved with their success in the institution. What I found interesting is that I was in the same situation that was described in the writing. Even though my parents loved studying and reading, they never had the chance to attend college, making my sister as the FGC of my house and me, the second. And going to school in the US left me with no knowledge of admissions to College, and schools in the US, since there were no family members who attended US Institution. Being clueless for the first two semesters, I had a hard time trying to do good in school. Until now, I blamed the reasons of my struggle to be entirely mine, but he shared a different perspective where some people will have the privilege of knowing the things that I didn’t know before they got into the institution.


  13. In his work, Kenneth Oldfield shows his point of view in the term “Socioeconomic standard.” He pointed out the lack of confidence and experience when it came to first generation college students. I feel like what he stated is true, even now, there are many students who do not feel comfortable studying at a location that is far away from their home; regardless of which socioeconomic class you came from. He also mentions how colleges should change their environment so students can gain a deeper appreciation on how SES can affect their lives. I do not see how one’s SES can affect their personality when it comes to college. Everyone at first will feel a general sense of intimidation until they develop a sense of ease.


  14. In this article, Kenneth Oldfield is pointing out the different lifestyle in the society. How people are view differently in the case of social-economic. He also showed that the first generation of Nowadays is very different from the past generation, Students of nowadays have more opportunities to succeed in their lives while the past generation, it is very difficult for them, it was not that easy, not that much opportunities but they loved studying. In the university or college, some students think that staying away from parents will be a difficult thing, its true but we are trying another different life, we are experiencing life which is staying away from parents. It’s here that we can differentiate the students upper class and lower class in the term of socioeconomic. Once, students arrive in the higher education, they depend on themselves. For example, me, i never separated from parents since i was little but now am old enough to live alone and understand what is going on, what i want for my life in order to succeed. I was really afraid of living in the campus but, i found that it’s another part of learning life. School is a part of learning too but some experiences, we learn in our own way of view things in our environments.


  15. dckim5 says:

    Growing up from the lower class himself, Kenneth Oldfield points out many things about college which he learned as a first generation. After reading his essay, one thing I found interesting is how Oldfield mentions the significance of good teeth indicates a higher social class. Maybe its because majority of the people where I grew up had straight teeth, but I never considered it as a “social class indicator”. A social class marker to me would be more of how respectable your job is or how nicely you dress. Oldfield pointing out this observation is intriguing to me because it a new aspect of viewing social class which I may have taken for granted.


  16. gregkim360 says:

    Kenneth Oldfield speaks from personal experience about the noticeable difference in the lives of first generation college students. His lack of socio-economic status caused him to have a lack of cultural capital when headed to college. The conception of “majority rules” was existent in college and he felt different because unlike most other college students, he did not come from a wealthy family. These days, I feel as if the border between the wealthy and first class is weak/nonexistent. Students become friends without knowing each other’s background and aren’t judged for their lack of socioeconomic status or cultural capital.


  17. jasonkimik says:

    Kenneth Oldfield introduces his personal experiences to explain his idea of reforming a college campus to help children of poor and working class parents. He explains how hard it was for him when he got into a college, because he, as he is the only one who went to a college, had never heard of how college life would be like for his parents. As a faculty member right now, Oldfield talks about how important for colleges is to implement a system that can help to achieve social equity. He suggest that we need to educate all students and faculty members about social-class dynamics.


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