Community Paper Ideas

Post your ideas for Paper #3 here. Do so by Friday, November 8. I will respond to each of you individually when I can.


71 thoughts on “Community Paper Ideas

  1. I was thinking about using my high school class as my community and specifically focusing on my senior year.

    I also was thinking of talking about my high school volleyball team as a community.

    Christie Gleason

    • Could be a good idea. The important thing, in either case, is to avoid letting “graduation goggles” get the best of you. There’s danger of writing a paper about how close you all became, how everyone accepted everyone else, etc. While it’s important to acknowledge the good in your community, be it a graduating class or a sports team, don’t shy away from the bad that’s present, either.

      In either case, consider “characters” to put in your essay: people who would make good representatives of aspects from their respective communities.

    • Sports teams can be good to write about: what were your traditions? What were the power dynamics? (freshmen versus upperclassmen, that sort of thing) How, as a team, did you handle losing? How did you handle winning? Again, don’t get too sentimental–no team is perfect. Remember to write the good and the bad. Same goes for any hometown as well.

    • Summer camps are great for this sort of essay. There are all kinds of wacky traditions that seem kind of crazy to outsiders. They also seem to inspire a fierce loyalty in those who attend and/or work at them, so be conscious of that as you write.

    • Good plan. I like Jersey a lot as a state. I feel a kinship, since both Jersey and Ohio (and Florida, for that matter) are at the butt of a lot of national jokes. It seems to me that Jersey (some parts, at least) has a kind of little brother complex about being so close to New York City, the sibling who gets all the attention. Sarah Vowell wrote an essay about this. I will try to find it for you if you’re interested.

  2. I’m thinking about writing about athletics. For years everyone knew me as “the athlete” and that was my community. It helped shape me into who I am today.

    • I think this could be good. It could be interesting to reflect on going to college and no longer being considered “the athlete.” How does that affect others’ perceptions of you? Your perceptions of yourself? High school athletics can be great for personal growth and development, but there are also problems that can come with it: harassment and hazing, homophobia, a sense of entitlement, a “warrior mentality.” Maybe these were issues at your school, or maybe they weren’t. Try to address at least one or two of them either way.

  3. I think i’m going to write about being a Theta, the family aspects, our involvement with the greek community, philanthropy, it’s importance in my life and how it has affected me.

    • Could be great, as long as you give me the outsider’s perspective on your sorority. As you’re writing, think of yourself not as a Theta, but as an anthropologist undercover. What does it look like, being a Theta: the house, the rituals, the interactions between sisters? What does it mean to be part of this sorority?

  4. I think I am going to write about the Catholic Student Union I am in right now and how it has changed my life for the better
    I will also address how people perceive the Catholic church from the outside, stereotypes (even ones from long ago are still here today)

    • I find Catholic culture interesting, particularly college Catholic culture. There are the stereotypes about guilt, about “casual Catholics.” What does the CSU mean to you? Is it a social environment? Does it fulfill a deeper need? How does it stack up to your church at home? All these are questions you could address.

  5. My sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma and how it has made my college experience unforgettable already, and how it goes against the many stereotypes that are tagged onto sororities.

    • Sounds good, as long as you remember that you’re not giving a testimonial for your sorority; you’re taking (as much as possible) an objective look at it. Please see my comments for Brooke’s post.

    • Cool. College athletics are interesting because you’ve got, potentially, all the issues I mentioned in response to Kyle’s post (please go ahead and check that out), plus the added visibility and pressure of being an athlete at the college level.

  6. I’m going to write about how i was raised in a religious environment due to the fact that I attended private school my whole life, and if all of the money my parents spent on it was worth it and how it affected my character as a college student.

    • All are good ideas. How does being in a large public school help you to realize the defining traits of attending a small private school? And think of the uniforms: man, the first year at Ohio State, I almost missed the uniforms. I never had any idea what to wear to class.

  7. the lacrosse community and how there are so many intricacies that most people don’t understand. They stereotypes that are right about lax bros and the ones that are wrong

  8. Peer Education program in high school

    Helping freshman get through high school while providing them with advice when dealing with temptations like drugs and alcohol.

    Louie Copley

    • Could be a good topic, Louie, and it sounds like it was a great program. And I don’t want to seem cynical about everything, but I’m going to play the devil’s advocate: consider how padding the ol’ college application may have factored into the decision to enter your community. Also: was anyone in the community using alcohol while telling freshmen to stay away from it? Because that would make for a good story.

  9. I am planning to write about the sports communities that I have been a part of. Soccer has had the most impact on my life, but I’ve also played other sports such as softball and cross country. Being a part of this community has helped me make connections with so many different and interesting people. I want to get an outsider’s view/opinion of the sports community.

  10. My middle school/high school cross country team. No one gets the bond between cross country runners till you’ve been on a team.

  11. Right, I think I remember you writing something about this earlier in the semester. Emotions still run high over the Trayvon Martin shooting, but a controversy can be an excellent lens through which to view the people of a community. I would say the most important thing to keep in mind is this: after all the politicization and media sensation surrounding the issue, the irrevocable fact of the day is that a teenage boy died. A mother lost her son. And that’s a sad thing. No matter what your take on the surrounding controversy is, I think your paper will be fine as long as you are respectful of this fact.

  12. I was thinking about writing about my high school volleyball team and all the good and the bad it did to me.
    Or I am thinking about writing about my hometown and all of the good and bad in it.

    • “The good and the bad”–that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I’m a little biased towards the volleyball essay, just because that’s a community whose parameters are easy to define. You know all the characters involved, the players and coaches. Hometowns can be good to write about, but they’re a little harder to define–no matter how small it is, you probably don’t know everybody. But I’ve seen great essays written on the subject despite that. So Austin, do what you want.

  13. My high school would be beyond easy to write about, but too conventional. It is a high socio-economic school with rich snobs and a Jewish student population.

    I could write about the theater tech I did in high school. I could explain the hierarchy and how I became queen bee.

    Another possibility would be to talk about my military structured summer camp, Culver. I could discuss the history my family has with it and the impact it makes on every camper’s life.

    I could also write about the few people who don’t drink before they’re 21. The social pressure, the awkward feelings at parties, and how when you go out, you are so thirsty and there is nothing but alcoholic beverages to drink.

    Those are the topics I’m debating between. I am unsure of which I want to write about.

    • Those last three all sound like they could be great. I could definitely see a kind of “Hannah Ascending”-style essay for the drama club one. Military camp sounds interesting because I don’t know anything about it, and I would imagine you form some pretty strong bonds at camp (and that there are a lot of misconceptions about it). The non-underage-drinking community would also be great to talk about, particularly at a school where drinking seems to be the preferred weekend (and at times, weekday) activity. I guess you just have to ask yourself which one you’re most interested in, and which you feel will best allow you to use your talents for sharp observation and humor.

    • Sounds like a good topic. Stories about personal growth are good. Keep in mind what I’ve written on other peoples’ posts about not viewing the organization of student government through rose-colored glasses–it may have helped you grow, but there are flaws in any organization. Especially if that organization is a government of any kind. There are all kinds of risks that come with power, no matter how small that power seems–corruption, deceit, backstabbing, etc. I’m curious about where the student government kids are now. Are they going to colleges in DC, ready to pursue a career in politics?

  14. I’m planning on writing about the dance community. Talking about the arguments of whether it’s a sport or an art. I will include the good and bad about dance and how it shaped me.

  15. A lot of my family members have been in gangs and have been in and out of jail and i feel i have a good grasp of gang life and think it would be interesting to talk about this community.

    Also i would like like to talk about the “Oreo” community. Most people define Oreo as a black person that acts, talk, dresses white. Its a small community, one that goes unnoticed most times, but still exist. I think it would be fun to shed some light on a community like this because being a black person that does not really identify with the black community, and more with other community some times you are looked at as weird or a traitor.

    • All right, but proceed with caution. A rhetoric about overcoming differences and becoming close always seems to take over when a group of seniors is graduating, but it’s not always genuine. Consider this saying from one of my old writing instructors: Anywhere there is a circle of light, there is at least one person outside that circle. Also consider the effects of “graduation goggles”:

      See also “The Exploding Meatball Sub,” a season 6 episode of How I Met Your Mother, for a further exploration of this effect.

  16. I want to write about the music community here at fsu from a freshmans perspective. I want to write about how the transition from high school to college affected people. I live in the music llc with a ton of other music major freshmen so it should be fairly easy to get their take on this new learning environment.

    • Sounds like an interesting topic. There seems like a lot of different kinds of music to write about: the Chiefs, the jazz band, the bands coming through Club Downunder. I’ll be interested to read your take on what it all means: is music culture here a reflection of FSU culture as a whole? Is it doing entirely its own thing?

  17. I want to take you behind the scenes of a drama club, preferably the one from my high school because I don’t have any “drama” in the production I am currently in. I could also explain the differences of HS drama troupe vs. BA Theatre students. I’m just gonna let it pour out and see where it is going to take me!

  18. I feel like it would be so cliché to write about cheerleading but i guess it will have to do.

    Jocks vs. Nerds
    People’s perception vs. the actuality of things

    Maybe how I was also in a Magnet Program. I feel like people looked down on thinking I was not as smart as them just because I was a cheerleader.

    • No, that’s totally fine. I think writing about how the assumptions people make about your intelligence based on extracurricular involvement will be interesting. You could also reflect on what it was like to live in both words, cheerleading and the Magnet Program. Is there more overlap between the two than people might think?

  19. I’ve narrowed it down to two things I can write the most about – Judaism, because I have a lot of connections and people I can talk to, and Star Wars, since there isn’t a single person who hasn’t heard of it and it’s one of the largest communities there is. There’s two options right now because although I can right a lot about Judaism, I don’t want to rub it in anyone’s face. Not sure which direction to go here.
    -Becky B.

    • I don’t think you have to worry about that, Becky. Either one of those could be great. Star Wars is sort of an amorphous community, since it exists in large part on fan forums online, but there is also that spillover into the real world in the fact that everyone is at least familiar with the film, its characters, its music. With Judaism, you’d have several options: the international/historical Jewish community, your local Jewish community, Jewish people in media/perceptions of the Jewish community in pop culture. I think either topic could be great.

  20. I’m sorry I’m late I forgot to post my idea on the blog. But I am going to do Florida State University. I will discuss traditions, sports and academics.

    • That could make for an interesting paper or a really boring one. It depends on how much critical thinking you’re willing to do. We all know the traditions, so you don’t really have to spend a lot of time describing them. The thing to do would be to think about these things in a way we haven’t heard before. What do they tell us about the culture of Florida State (or college in general) that is surprising? “Surprising” being the key word here–make it more than just a five-page report on school spirit.

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