This course, English 110: Education and Ethnography,  not only expanded my skills to make me a better writer, but also taught me how to analyze institutions. Along with improving my writing, I gained a deeper insight on the mechanism of universities and other companies. Under the guidance of an experienced professor, a valuable technique that I learned in this course is writing PIE paragraphs. By applying this to my writing, my essays have become more structured and organized. I am able to derive meaning from quotes and videos and understand the various ways that rhetoric is used, allowing me to incorporate it into my own writing. In this course, I learned how to write according to the standards of college writing.

According to the dictionary definition of merit, it is “something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation”. A merit is accomplishing a difficult task and overcoming the obstacles along the way. In high school, all of the graduating seniors were ranked in order of their average, the first rank corresponding to the person with the highest average and then continuing on in this manner. I earned the ninth rank in my graduating class of 850 students. The moment I learned of this was a moment of surprise and disbelief. I checked to make sure that I was reading the correct name a number of times, before I was able to digest this information. This information became more real when my teacher congratulated me. Securing a position in the first ten ranks was a great accomplishment for anyone and I did not think that I would be able to achieve this. I felt that there were so many other students who were much smarter than I. This day was one of the highlights of high school.

Leading up to this point of achievement were a number of merits as well. I began taking Advanced Placement classes in tenth grade. These classes were very challenging and the workload was daunting; on days that I was very stressed out, I toyed with the idea of dropping out of these demanding classes but did not allow myself to actually do so. I was determined to complete the courses and perform well on the AP exams and was able to attain my goal. In my junior year, I was selected to join Arista, the Honor Society. Being in this organization was a source of pride. After all of this hard work, I finally graduated from high school with a 99.96 average.

Queens College offers a wide variety of classes, allowing people to experiment with many different subjects. A few classes that I have enjoyed in my two semesters spent on this campus are Sociology 101 with Farzana Ramzan, English 110 with Steven Alvarez, and Psychology 214 with Shivani Malhotra. These classes are my favorite because the professors make these classes very interesting and fun to learn. Materials learned in these classes expand my way of thinking.  In Sociology, I learned about different groups of people, a topic that was new to me; acquiring knowledge about cultures gives a deeper insight about why people behave in different manners. All throughout grade school, I always enjoyed English; I feel that this English 110 class has improved my writing. Having a strong writing ability is something that I find very important. Small daily writing assignments force me to think about my everyday encounters and to write about them in an interesting way. Psychology interested me in high school and I decided to pursue it in college. Psychology 214 delves into the development of children and the different milestones they reach in motor skills, language, cognitive abilities, emotions, etc. After learning the material, I apply it to my cousins to see where they are in relation to the many different theories. In doing this assignment, I realized a common trend in all of these classes, they are all discussion based. Though I may not participate in all of the discussions, listening to others’ opinions and experiences make my educational experience more meaningful by broadening my own views. When taking a test, I can recall information by running through discussions held in class.

In high school, I enjoyed English and Psychology. The books I read in those classes and the assignments attached to the readings made class enjoyable. Because I love reading, understanding character’s dilemmas and feelings was something that I looked forward to; the English classes that I had in high school helped build my ability to do this. I only took one Psychology class in high school and I was fascinated by how complex the human mind is. My teacher was very active, allowing us to witness many different aspects of the lessons we learned. Once again, these classes were mainly guided by class discussions, which is something that I enjoy.

For my major,I look forward to taking Elementary Education 201W and Psychology 215 which is Developmental Psychology for Adolescence.


The establishment of tribal colleges has been a crucial advancement for Native Americans, fostering their growth as a community. By being educated, Native Americans can perform productive jobs that bring lots of success, allowing them to be united on their reservations. This unity helps them preserve their culture. Once educated, parents find a well-paying job and can then support their children. For some, attending college was an option due to the availability of scholarships.  Otherwise, they would be trapped in the cycle of going between many different laborious jobs without being paid sufficiently. But for others, scholarships are not enough to get them through college. This is where true determination comes in as people work at three different places, hoping to earn enough money to get them through college.

College is a light of hope for many. Despite the downturn in the economy resulting in many people, even those with degrees, losing jobs, this institution does make a difference for many people. It is a source of liberation for many women, in that a majority of the students attending the schools are single mothers. One lady in this video states that she was in an abusive relationship and could not provide her son with clothes. Receiving a scholarship and attending college made her a strong person, allowing for her to make a living for her family. These Native Americans are fortunate to have tribal colleges so that they can further their education and make the future brighter for both themselves and their families.

Though Martin Luther King Jr. and many other civil rights activists fought for equality for African Americans, racism is still present in society today. The white race is perceived as being the dominant one, the one with power, beauty and intelligence. This idea is unconsciously present in young children as well even though race is not a reflection of such attributes.  When asked to select the prettier doll, most children naturally went for the light-skinned one without thinking twice. Parents don’t instill these thoughts in their children but just by observing their surroundings, things seen on TV and basic daily interactions, children have drawn this conclusion. It is sad that even though much advancement has been made in improving the lives of African Americans, there are still traces of racism present in society today.

The majors that I am considering are elementary education and psychology. The career that I envision myself pursuing is being a teacher. Working with young children and helping them understand lessons and life  is something that I look forward to. Seeing a smile on a child’s face after struggling to comprehend material or receiving some appreciation from students, is a source of pride and self-satisfaction, pushing me to continue on this path. Psychology goes hand-in-hand with teaching because by understanding how different types of children think, a teacher develops techniques to handle children. Relating to children is important when one is an educator because one can succeed by understanding where the child is coming from.

One can start teaching after receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education but then has to obtain his/her master’s in two years. Differences in degree earned reflect in the amount of money one earns. The starting salary for a teacher who only has his/her bachelor’s is around $45,500. On the other hand, someone who has both their bachelor’s and their master’s earns around $51,500. Higher education results in more money.

Overall, I am content with Queens College. It has a nice, student-friendly campus with a grass covered quad, allowing students to relax and enjoy themselves when the weather permits. This college offers a plethora of classes, enabling students to discover what sparks their interest and the career that they want to pursue. It has tutoring facilities for students that want assistance in understanding course material. But every good thing also has a negative side.

When talking about Queens College, some students are displeased with the large class sizes which result in an impersonal relationship between the teacher and student, high tuition prices and lack of convenient parking around the university. I would like certain aspects of the Queens College library to be changed. The employees do not seem to be efficient at searching for books and figuring out where they are located. Due to this, long lines form in front of the information desk as students wait to get the call number for textbooks. Many times, students are short on time and cannot wait in these long lines. Therefore, they exit the library without getting the item that they had intended on. Librarians should become proficient in searching for books, preventing students from having a long wait.

Standing on line is already frustrating but one becomes more flustered to discover that the textbook that was wanted is not available. The library has very few copies of textbooks and it is not convenient for students to trudge to school with so many heavy books. On top of being stressed out over studying for exams, students wait on a long line just to find out that the book that they want is unavailable. Therefore, libraries should have a greater number of copies of textbooks. These changes are aimed at making the Rosenthal Library a more efficient place for studying.

Tips and advice on how to handle situations and life experiences is always helpful when trying out something new. People get an idea of what they are getting into and know how to make the most of their experience. College is a transitory period in everyone’s life, between being a child and an adult; the way you handle yourself is imperative to the way in which you will lead the rest of your life.

Visiting college with an over-excited father is embarrassing, especially if the father jumps in with the cheerleaders. One’s reputation can be tainted even before one gets a chance to build it up. Nevertheless, this video does a good job of highlighting the important features of college social life. Students can be seen hanging out, participating in sports and having a great time on the college campus.


Receiving response letters from colleges is a very stressful time for high school students. The boy in this video was rejected from every school that he contemplated going to and resorted to establishing his own college. Not continuing his education would have branded him as a loser and in order to avoid this, he took matters in his own hands. Wanting everyone to enjoy themselves, tests were not given out. People enjoyed themselves partying and getting to know one another.


College has become a business for administrators, leaving a heavy burden on students’ wallets. People go to college to get an education, earn a degree and better the life ahead of them but for many, the last goal is not attainable. Drowning in debt by the time they leave college, students pay a large portion of their salary on trying to pay back this borrowed money. Due to financial circumstances, many are compelled to live with their parents again. The promise of a good future after college is not so clear when one has a mountain of fiscal stress to attend to.


Many people equate college with drinking and that is what is shown in this video. Students are using their laptops and are constantly drinking. This is not the vibe that I get from Queens College. Though there may be a group of people who crave drinking and partying, I don’t think that this is a reflection of the majority; I just may be unaware of this side of socializing in Queens College because I am not around such people.

Rankings are comprised of many different things and everyone cannot depend on them to make decisions. Rankings are a very subjective measure; they are based on students’ personal experiences. Some people may have a wonderful time in a university while others might have dreaded these four years of their life even though they were in the same place. When looking at rankings, one should pay close attention to the opinions and descriptions that supplement the rankings. A rank is just a number but it is the opinions that help one make a decision. Someone may not be in favor of a certain feature of a college, assigning the college a low number but for another person, that same thing may be something to look forward to. In that way, the low ranking does not have much weight for a student looking for a college because he/she knows what is available. Like the saying goes, “One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure”. College ratings do not hold much importance when a person is looking for a particular type of school but they are important when one wants to go to a “brand-named” school. Brand- names come with high ratings; it all depends of what a student is looking for.

Schools can be competitive for different reasons. Some are difficult to get in to because they are affordable, resulting in many people wanting to attend these schools. In such a situation, colleges have to be selective in admitting students because they cannot let everyone enter. Another reason for competition is that some elite colleges want only “the cream of crop”. They want to have the best students that the nation has to offer. Having dedicated, hard-working students who have a greater chance of excelling and being successful brings fame for the school. A lot of the motivation behind institutions is for the fame and glory which comes with students who have achieved great things in the world and can give credit of their education to their school.

When applying for college, I applied for the Macaulay Honors program at Queens College. I experienced competition because there were many kids that applied to this program but only a select amount were chosen, of which I was not. Macaulay Honors administrators heavily looked at SAT scores and not only high school report card averages. Even though I had a 99.9 average in high school, my SAT scores prevented me from being accepted into this program. There was lots of competition in choosing the best students and so only those students that excelled in everything were accepted.

Asher Roth enjoys attending college for all of the wrong reasons. He has equated college with drinking, parties and girls.  This video starts off with Asher Roth and all of his friends asleep in the living room after a night of intoxicating themselves; this is an image that comes to people’s mind when thinking about college students’ nights. He inserts a DVD into the DVD player and this is when we see how he spent his night with his friends. Asher Roth portrays the life of fraternity boys; Greek letters were written at the entrance of the building that he entered.Not once in his song does he mention earning a degree or gaining knowledge, which are the ideal motives for one going to college. To him, college is one big disco club; this institution was established for entertainment. The power and excitement of a party is in the red cups.


Another video that shows the social life of college students is “Hai Junoon” which I posted on my blog earlier. In contrast to “I Love College”, in “Hai Junoon” the youngsters do party but along with that, they also play football and do other things together. Both videos shed light on social aspects of college students’ lives.

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