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What Collegians Have Learned

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Thackeray warned tlie wise fatlier agaiiHt oureting the highest honor tor his sou at school. Let the boy, he would say, have a respectable place in the middle of ihe farm and get a good thrashing now and then, instcad of tlie walk. The colleglHne wuo are taking thelr degrees this ïnonth have umlergone the biNk discipline ot c()iiiiftition uud been outstripped by thelr fellowa in one way or another. Even the valttlictorians and prizc-mcu kuow their liniitutioiis. While thcy liuve kt pt thuir places or won their honors by dogged perelstence in study, sometimes through sheer drudgery, they know that a 1 1n ril of the way down the list lliitre are iiiimls lurpawlilg theirs iu original toree; Umt tiin lowi-r down there aie men of practiciil intelligeDce who can out debate ihciii on au)' topic of current discusión, umi ihat neaily at tlie bottom of tlie roll there are dapper little fellows wliose seltpossession and social graces they have ofteu envied wlien standing themselves tongue-tied and awkward - limbed in a drawing-room. The giaduating seniors have leamed this, if nothiag else, that they canuot be first u everythiug, that they are, indeed, forUinate if they have au unrivalled talent for anything; and that in tlie main tlieir ability does not rie Bbove the level of mediocrity. The buddingfreshnian who lcft the preparatory school or academy overpraised by his teachers, petted and idolized at homo, nflated willi sulf-importance, requiring only a place to stand in order to move the wurld wllh his genius, is lees pretentions as a tiill-blown senior, lie has been biought into contact wlth men of his own age u ho have greater natural ability than himwlf in soine direction, if not in all. The effect of this experience bas been wholesome. The competitive tests of college life have enabled hini to foiin a more accurate cstimato of hls own powers. This is accouipanied by a corresponding soase of the lluiitations of his own küowledge. His uuiversity training has tended not so much to put conceit into him, as to take it out. If he was impressed at the start with the promisc and the potency of his youthful talents, he is now humiliated by the superticial character of his aequirements. His illusions haye been dispelled. His horizon has been enlarged. He kuows how much he has to learn and liow many years of exhausting labor and liat exceptional facilities for thorough Btudy will be requlied before he can be cntitlcd to consider himself a thoroughly edacated man. Ho is more apt to depreoiate the training wliich he has had as crude, uii8cientific and shallow, than be is to pluma himself upon his positive gains in culture. The ardor for Btudy lias not goneont of him, but his respect for the dlgiilty of human knowledge has been ncreased a hundred-fold. In a vague way Me has alrcady resolved to keep up his Fiench, Germán and Latín, and to follow out various courses of readlug outlined by the piofessors - in a word, not to lose the little he has gained, but to add to his store of inforination, if possible. He is often represented as inflated with a senst of his impoitance and as inclined to patroni.e all his relations. That is a vulgai luimt, lt is not true. The collee gr;uluate, as a rule, is more modest than the blgh-fichool gradúate. He bas learne how little he knows, and. n--xtto knowlnj a gieal (t.A, that is the greatest gain in ii,! niu t Ir il . Thiá sense of tku Umltattoni of their own powers and knowleilge iniposesupon oollegiant restralnts that are not felt ly me w lióse education stopped ut the blgl acbool. A great deal is writtun about the InBlpld fruit froin th univeisities, but i tbetrutb be told it will be found tlmt the forcing-houses lower down in grade o intelligence are inainly at fault. The anihitious poet wbo seuds to a countrj newspaper a translation of Horace's Nintl OJe, picked up bis Latin at the high school, but has never entered college Tlie contributions to the rhymers' coiné in tlie weekly prints, the romances whicl never find a publisher, nnd bushelsof re jected manuscript emptied iuto the junk shops trom tlie offices of newspnpers am periodiciils, are seldom the work of ooi lege men, but are generally fiom tbe hiiiids of high school graduatcs or ombi lujiisand sanguine wouicn. Tbe college men nwy not be able to do any bette work- but they know ït. The tendcncy of tln-ir cducation is to keep not only tb poB - tiiat most unruly oí' ínoilcm mem ben- bat the tongas and the Ufe unde restraint. Tbe man wbo in general con venatlon makes the most sweeping anei tions on the narrowest premlses; wli reaflon about the Irish question frim tb basis of tbe personal habitsof the cook i bis kitchon, and has bis tbeory abou everythlng froni a brisk cyclone to a bar coltl in the bead, and is rcady al ¦ mom fiit's notice to proclaim bis views on ever poulble contiugency of hiimiui all'air, i not a college man. His educatloD wa lnterrupted somewberebelow tbe univers ity lerel, so that he has oever feit the re Htraining intlueuces of his own limltatlotl The graJuatlng colleglans are in som scnse conscious of tbosc limitiitioiic, an ïey enter upon the practical buslni fu witli trreuter deliberatlon and incieas1 Intelngence as ilie result of tliat cnowledge. Mediocrlty in t lic colleges aunot be converted intoyenius aiiy more lan dundellona ander glaas can be deyelped into rote-geranioma. But it is a reMt POinl tralneil U iy kuows seli


Ann Arbor Courier
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