March A. Ryan

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Harriet Hayes

Degree Award Date

Spring 2009


Hooking Up, College Social Scene, Men, Friendship, Identity, Real College Experience, in-depth interviews, paradoxical ideology


Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


This research examines the ways in which men develop identities and ideologies during their time at college. What has been termed, "the real college experience," has become an important .vehicle for college males in developing friendships, creating social networks, emerging identities, and taking advantage of freedom. And at the same time is a form of consumption. The findings are based on ten in-depth interviews that were conducted on traditionally aged college males from James Madison University in Virginia. It is apparent that male college students' desire to live the "real college experience" plays a very important role in helping them decipher their own actions as well as others actions, while providing them with a sense of identity and freedom. However, this research found that college males are actually experiencing "unfreedom" because the "real college experience" has been prefabricated by outside forces- in a sense they are caught in a paradoxical ideology that gives the illusion of choice and freedom.