A few months ago, Nathan Heller wrote a fantastic review of William Deresiewicz’s book, a book that argues that elite colleges are bad for the soul.
The close of Nathan’s piece makes an important point with a light touch:
Beneath [Deresiewickz’s] fury at the failings of higher education is an almost religious belief in its potential. The stakes are, in truth, lower than he thinks. A college education, even a poor one, isn’t the final straightaway of self-realization, after all. It is the starting gate. College seniors leave with plans for law careers and then, a J.D. later, find their bliss as graphic artists. Financiers emerge as novelists. Avowed actors thrive in corporate life. And some alumni, maybe more than some, never get there; they work, marry, bear kids, buy homes, and feel that their true lives have somehow passed them by.
Would better college years have made those people more fulfilled? Even in the era of fast tracks and credentialism, the psychic mechanisms of an education are mysterious. Let teachers like Deresiewicz believe. For a couple of hours every week, students are theirs in the classroom to challenge and entrance. Then the clock strikes, and the kids flock back into the madness of their lives. Did the new material reach them? Will the lesson be washed from their minds? Who knows. They heard it. Life will take care of the rest.
2 comments on ““Life Will Take Care of the Rest””
Hi Mr. Ben, I am new to comment here. Nathan Heller’s description of how the young’s lives go on is so right and deep. We often forget the things we learn in a classroom as students, since we deem achieving high enough GPA just as academic obligation in order to pass the ‘starting gate’. In the workplace and business world, the combination of our own effort and providence begins to determine our destiny more obviously. Throughout this way, we slowly but surely experience the discovery of our talents, passion and life purpose.
I have a friend who first persisted in a culinary business, until she joined with a new business partner who had an idea to mix her competence in cooking and his skills in photography. They then executed it, and bought a building where the first floor functioned as a café and the upstairs was for camera rental. After some months, it turned out that the rental business thrived but the café stagnated. Hence, they decided to stop the culinary side and focus solely on renting cameras. She told me that her partner diligently taught her about technical aspects of cameras during the transition period, which made her mind puzzled. At the moment, in its second year, their business is growing fast and about to expand. My friend has chosen a field tremendously unrelated with her first career yet succeeds.
Thank you for making me realize about a profound life principle by the quote. It will help ensure that my true life is with me today. I am presently running a social enterprise with the purpose of educating as many people as possible about global citizenship via the internet. I pray for your increasingly successful future in your entrepreneurship and intellectual journey and in gaining even broader influence. Great to know you!
The blog is so much accurate abut worrying win chances of education and mis-use. Though there are so many options these students for a better life and future. So in my view children should possess someone who can help them for a right decision life