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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Managing the tension of in(ter)dependence: Communication and the socialization of first-year college students


Author(s): Smith, A. K., Carmack, H. J., & Titsworth, B. S.

Citation: Smith, A. K., Carmack, H. J., & Titsworth, B. S. (2006). Managing the tension of in(ter)dependence: Communication and the socialization of first-year college students. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 18(2), 83-109.

 

Abstract

The adjustment to college represents a potentially invigorating and unsettling time for students. As students are socialized into college experiences, they must simultaneously navigate issues of identity, uncertainty, and change--all of which take place in a dynamic, ever-changing communication environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of college students as they navigate their first year of college. After conducting individual interviews, focus-group interviews, and shadowing observations, we observed that college students' socialization is driven by the tension of in(ter)dependence, a desire for independence and a continuing need for dependence. As students meet new people and establish themselves as college students, they do so while managing the need for connectedness and separateness and (re)defining their sense of self. We discuss these observations within the context of how communication studies can substantially inform theory and praxis related to college student socialization.

 

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