Authors: Yulia A. Strekalova, Naomi D. Parker, Gloria Montoya-Vazquez, Taylor Fishman, Ruth Rodriguez Tavare, Nabiha Azaz
Faculty Mentor: Yulia A. Strekalova
College: College of Journalism and Communications
The purpose of this study is to examine the high and low points that university students experience while navigating the complexities of higher education and campus life. This qualitative study takes a narrative lifespan perspective and uses semi-structured interviews for data collection. The goal of the interviews is to inquire about the participants’ turning points and specific examples of high and low points in feeling connectedness to the campus community since starting at the University of Florida. The interviews are recorded and transcribed. Turning points are presented visually. Both data sources are triangulated and analyzed for emerging themes that describe characteristics of (dis-)connectedness experiences. Preliminary analyses reveal that high points primarily featured active membership in campus organizations and having a consistent friend group while attending UF. Students’ low points were often associated with loneliness due to geographical distance from family for prolonged periods of time. Moreover, the low points frequently referenced the period of adjustment students experienced when while navigating UF as a new environment. Overall, our research suggests that the absence or presence of a community dictated the high or low points of a student’s life at the University of Florida.