Monday, March 19, 2012

Albert Jay Nock on teaching college students

Albert Jay Nock reflecting on his experience of teaching college students - a useful reminder for students to (a) have some purpose or intention behind the course of studies they choose, and (b) make the most of their educational opportunities:

"What struck me with peculiar force was that only one out of the whole batch was taking work with me because he wanted to learn something about my subject. Most of them were taking it as a filler. They sat where they did because they had to sit somewhere in order to meet some requirement in an intricate system of 'credits,' and the most convenient place for them to sit happened to be in my lecture-room. Some were there for purposes connected with their prospective ways of getting a living. The majority, however, for all I could make out, were there because they were, at the moment, nowhere else; they put me in mind of the cheerful old drinking-song which we used to sing to the tune of Auld Lang Syne: We’re here because We’re here because We’re here because We’re here."

--Albert Jay Nock, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (free e-book available here).