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Book embraces questions about relationships

An honest talk with honest students

 

Let's sit down and have an honest talk. (Photograph provided by Megan Alms)

Let’s sit down and have an honest talk. (Photograph provided by Megan Alms)

By Megan Alms | Contributor

An evangelical college campus is a mosaic of conflicting ideals, especially concerning sexuality.

Peers at secular schools say sex is casual. Christian professors say sex is holy, but restrained. Parents say sex is prohibited altogether. The mixing of these ideals results in a confused, conflicted student body. So how are relationships approached by students at evangelical universities?

In “From Single to Serious,” Dana M. Malone embraces this question. This book is the result of a personal case study in which Malone talked face-to-face with students to find out the truth. What expectations do college relationships carry? How are relationships formed? How do relationships impact religion, and vice versa?

Malone’s conclusions are directly drawn from student interviews, resulting in an accurate description of relationship culture within evangelical campuses. Her statements are all backed by quotes from students expressing their observations of college dating. She references familiar campus lingo such as “MRS degree,” “freshman frenzy” and “ring by spring” used by students in describing relationships. Her conclusions are conversational and make the student subjects three-dimensional to the reader, as if personally sitting in on the group discussions.

This study addresses the important, personal matters of relationships. Malone asked students what expectations they felt the need to conform to within relationships when under the watchful eyes of peers and campus faculty. She was sure to gain the perspectives of both men and women and learn the effects they felt from these expectations. The study also shows what happens beyond these expectations: what are students really thinking and doing?

This study boldly approaches a topic that many find too sensitive to discuss. Malone embraces real questions and gets to the heart of a culture that has yet to be heard from.

 

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