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Published on December 19, 2007

Author: Bernadette

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Birds of a Feather Flock Together? A Survey of the Formation of Friendship Group. :  Birds of a Feather Flock Together? A Survey of the Formation of Friendship Group. Patryk Babiarz, Jania Bell, Marina Hsu Introduction :  Introduction With transition to graduate school, friends are necessary. Friends influence one’s adjustment in this culturally diverse environment both in academic and non-academic settings. Due to the cultural diversity of Purdue University, friendship formation becomes a unique experience. Due to the lack of qualitative findings regarding the formation of friendship group in a diverse university setting, this study attempts to provide guidance for incoming students here at Purdue. Purpose :  Purpose This study attempts to contribute to the knowledge of friendships amongst Purdue University students by: defining the meaning of friendship groups, identifying their characteristics, exploring the formation of friend groups in the new environment, investigating whether friendship groups facilitate adjustment to graduate school, investigating whether the friendship groups influence academic performance. Background :  Background Maslov ‘s hierarchy of needs: Friendship serves the function of social support in the hierarchy that leads to self actualization. Friends helps to reduce maladjustment by providing social support. (Wallace, 1966; Epstein, 1983; Lundberg, 2003; Tinto, 1998 ) Friendship has positive impact on students’ academic achievements. (Wallace, 1966; Epstein, 1983; Lundberg, 2003; Tinto, 1998 ) Survey & Sample:  Survey & Sample The characteristics of the survey: 9 open-ended questions under 2 categories, 1 demographic section. A selection of questions in the survey: How do you define friendship? Do you think your new friends help you adjust to the environment of graduate school? Sample: First-year students, 10 international graduate students, 2 American graduate students, students from 8 different departments (CGT, CSR, EE, CE, STAT, ME…). Results – definition of friendship:  Results – definition of friendship There is a variety of ways of being a friend. There are 4 most frequently mentioned concepts that define friendship: Trust Sharing Common interests Caring ”relationship between people based on hobbies and interests” ” a friend is somebody I can help” ”friends are people who enjoy the company of one another and have developed a bond and respect for each other” Results – friendship group:  Results – friendship group There are 4 main factors influencing formation of the friendship group: personality, social engagement, studying together, place of residence. The majority of study participates describe their friendship group as culturally diverse: ”We have different cultural backgrounds, represent different traditions, and usually different sense of humor.” Most participants meet their friends frequently (everyday), but frequency of meetings also depends on the purpose of meetings and whether friends are classmates and/or roommates. Results – adjustment to graduate school & academic performance:  Results – adjustment to graduate school & academic performance A majority of participants think their friends help them adjust to graduate school, both academically and psychologically. Academically help is delivered as: advice or guidance on academic procedures, time management, overcoming language problems, mutual stimulation and motivation regarding coursework, creating stimulating competitive environment. Psychological help includes: understanding American culture, overcoming language problems, ”recharging batteries”. Limitations & Further studies suggestions:  Limitations & Further studies suggestions Limitations: Sample characteristics and sample size, Transition should be addressed in the context specific major of studies, Short time frame for the research, No quantitative verification. Further studies: Longitudinal studies of the formation of friendships and cultural adjustments, Refinement of the qualitative survey, Quantitative verification of qualitative findings. Conclusions & Implications:  Conclusions & Implications The importance of friendship is undeniable especially when it comes to the adjustment to new environments. Friendships help individuals adjust better academically and psychologically during the transition to graduate school. In order to better adapt to the graduate school, one should build a good relationship with students coming from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. An ideal friendship group should be a mixture of classmates and roommates so that it’d provide a healthy balance between work and play. Thank You!:  Thank You! Patryk Babiarz pbabiarz@purdue.edu Jania Bell jebell@purdue.edu Marina Hsu hsu6@purdue.edu

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