The Importance of Community in Higher Education.

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The primary trait that I lack is confidence. In my mind, others are always smarter, prettier, more driven, and just better than me. Because of this attitude, I do not usually voice my opinions, state my ideas, or take control of anything; I automatically assume that anything I say or do is wrong or stupid. Although I still need to work on strengthening my confidence, SMU’s community atmosphere, specifically the Hilltop scholars program, has given me the enormous confidence boost I need to step out of my comfort zone and make my ideas a reality. A gain of confidence through supportive communities is apparent in the films Legally Blonde, Renaissance Man, and Higher Learning because each film includes individuals who need greater self-confidence, which comes from the support of their communities. In “The Quest for Community in Higher Education,” Parker Palmer outlines specifically how community can build up confidence. Additionally, in “The SMU Community According to Etzioni,” Christiano Gallo illustrates that confidence promotes involvement, which promotes confidence. The support I feel from various members of the SMU community has provided me with experiences similar to Elle, Rago, and Malik’s and has helped me understand how Palmer’s ideas foster confidence. Also, encouragement from others has opened my eyes to how involvement can instill confidence. Community gives us somebody to lean on. Somebody to lean on gives us confidence.

Lack of support from a surrounding community can strip someone of her confidence. In Legally Blonde, Elle begins Harvard Law School with little support from her family or ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. Most students do not take Elle seriously because she is a bit different from the ordinary, somber...

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...teachers in the SMU community has increased my confidence. My self-assurance is so much stronger now that maybe people will start to look to me as a source of confidence. Maybe, just maybe, people will finally see me as somebody they can lean on too.

Works Cited

Gallo, Christiano. "The SMU Community According to Etzioni." Criteria Archive. Eds. Lee Gibson et al. Dallas: SMU Department of English, 2011. Passim. Print.

Higher Learning. Dir. John Singleton. Columbia (New Deal), 1995. DVD.

Legally Blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. Perf. Reese Witherspoon. MGM Home Entertainment, 2001. DVD.

Palmer, Parker J. “The Quest for Community in Higher Education.” Criteria 2011-2012: A Journal of First-year Writing. Eds. Mary K. Jackman and Lee Gibson. Dallas: SMU Dept. of English, 2011. 46-55. Print.

Renaissance Man. Dir. Penny Marshall. Touchstone Pictures, 1994. DVD.

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