Shaw on "university schoolboyishness..."

One reader sent an e-mail reporting he couldn't find the Shaw quote on corporal punishment mentioned in an earlier post. He's right. I've looked for it several times through the years and couldn't find it either. Sorry. Still, I distinctly remember reading it about thirty years ago and I'm convinced it was Shaw, so that's how I report it.

Anyhow, in looking for that quote this reader came across another he forwarded...

I think readers will enjoy it:

"Older children might do a good deal before beginning their collegiate education. What is the matter with our universities is that all the students are schoolboys, whereas it is of the very essence of university education that they should be men. The function of a university is not to teach things that can now be taught as well or better by University Extension lectures or by private tutors or modern correspondence classes with gramophones. We go to them to be socialized; to acquire the hall mark of communal training; to become citizens of the world instead of inmates of the enlarged rabbit hutches we call homes; to learn manners and become unchallengeable ladies and gentlemen. The social pressure which effects these changes should be that of persons who have faced the full responsibilities of adults as working members of the general community, not that of a barbarous rabble of half emancipated schoolboys and unemancipable pedants. It is true that in a reasonable state of society this outside experience would do for us very completely what the university does now so corruptly that we tolerate its bad manners only because they are better than no manners at all. But the university will always exist in some form as a community of persons desirous of pushing their culture to the highest pitch they are capable of, not as solitary students reading in seclusion, but as members of a body of individuals all pursuing culture, talking culture, thinking culture, above all, criticizing culture. If such persons are to read and talk and criticize to any purpose, they must know the world outside the university at least as well as the shopkeeper in the High Street does. And this is just what they do not know at present. You may say of them, paraphrasing Mr. Kipling, "What do they know of Plato that only Plato know?" If our universities would exclude everybody who had not earned a living by his or her own exertions for at least a couple of years, their effect would be vastly improved."

(TB, w/thanks to Eric)


When a friend's son graduated from homeschool and she sought my counsel about college I told her, "Choose either of these two- either send him off to be a man, and if he wishes to study at college, let him pay for it as well as for his own needs, as a man. Or, keep him at home as he has been, pay for his schooling, but let him go to class, get the information, and come home. What you must never do is pay for him to live in a dorm on campus while paying for school. Such is a dangerous mixture of too much liberty and too little responsibility. At least such proved too dangerous for me.

RCJR, Here here!

I didn't work full time between high school and college, but I did start work at 16 and worked all the way through college. My college was paid for mostly by scholarships which required a certain GPA, but if I hadn't gotten those scholarships, it would have come out of my own pocket.

All this to say, I found a great antidote for my laziness in the constant threat that I could lose my scholarships and have to pay for college with my $8/hr wages. I always truly felt much better off than all the kids I saw around me who were wasting their parents' money partying all night and sleeping all day.

I agree wholeheartedly. I lived at home, worked 2 full-time jobs during summers, paid for schooling what my scholarships didn't cover, and sometimes held up to 4 jobs while in school, but always worked while going to school. I was expected to be on the dean's list every semester and made it all but a couple of times. It did not hurt me to do both (work & go to school), and I'm glad I didn't have the distraction of living on campus. I'm too much a social bug and it would have not been good for me to have that temptation. My first job, besides babysitting, was filling in nail holes with putty in apartments, prepping for the painting that followed. All for $1.10 an hour. Times have changed!

"I lived at home, worked 2 full-time jobs during summers, ... and sometimes held up to 4 jobs while in school, but always worked while going to school."

My university and seminary employment was similarly varied: railroad brakeman, phlebotomist, janitor, medical research guinea pig, hotel desk clerk, cook.

"It did not hurt me to do both (work & go to school) ..."

I'd go much further than that. In hindsight, all those jobs were a big and important part of the education. For one thing, the jobs and all the people I got thrown together with in them showed me how artificial and unreal the academic enviroment is. "We are the People and Wisdom will die with US!"

Yes, there were things to learn. Useful things. And also much that was not useful at all. That is why I rarely made the Dean's list, for there were courses for which I determined to do only as much work as required to make a minimally passing grade. I didn't have time to devote to naval-lint-picking seminars. The triage was most severe during the seminary years.

An article posted last week on talks about this same thing:

"To that end, I propose a theoretical pre-college regimen called “grownup training.” Specifically: six months spent working in a factory, six in a restaurant, six on a farm and six in the military or performing another public service such as building houses, teaching algebra or changing bedpans... Each offers a window on a critical, if unglamorous, societal function; taken together, the group cuts across all manner of socioeconomic currents: old and young, rich and poor, rural and urban."

-- from "Why You Should Postpone College" by Brett Nelson

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