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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 1891)
T H K H E S 1 IS R I A N.
only half truths. The statement that "most students enter
college with a future mapped out" is almost if not quite false.
Students may enter college with a definite life work before
them. But, very few, even at the end of the senior year,
can answer definitely the question students so often put to
each other: "What are you going to be?"
A census taken this, year in the agricultural college of
Kansas showed that eighty per cent of the students had not
yet determined upon what they should do when they left the
college halls. Please to notice, also, that tnis fact is fqund
in an agricultural college, where many of the students arc
farmci boys. They have had like environment and, it would
lie supposed, would have similar and definite ambitions. But
facts prove that, however much they despised or loved the
farm, when they left it for college; however determined they
were when they entered college doors, to be a doctor, a law
ycr, or a merchant, all defiinite aim deserted eighty per cent
of them after but a glance at the educational field.
The great number of "I don't knows" given in our insti
tution in answer to the definite question "what arc you going
to be" leads me to say that not seventy five per cent, of our
students arc determined upon any definite life work. Many
of them have vague desires, and plans still more vague. Most
of them are in college because father sends them, or because
an undefined desire for knowledge prompts them to search
This sounds very different from the language of the writer
whose lines I quote. It may be my thoughts in but the other
half of the truth his words convey. Hut I think not. I would
almost wager that he .himself is not sure what he will do
when he has his 1$. L. degree, or, if he is sure of it now that
he will change his mind.
Three of the smartest men that graduated with the classes
of last year and the year before, took courses preparatory to
science and to law, but are now preparing for the ministry.
This is but one of many illustrations of the natural uncertainty
of a students' purpose. What a student thinks he will be when
he is a sophomore, is not what he will be, even if he prepares
for it by electing all the hours of the junior and senior years
in that special line. He will be what his individual charac
ter and capability naturally fit him for, or he will be nothing
at all. When a student has reached a mature age, and has
learned his own disposition and nature, he is fit to chose his
life work, and will chose it, even though that choice makes
all his special training in electives vain.
Then for the A.B., B.L. and B.Sc. degrees, colleges
should prescribe courses that will give a student a ground work
for every educational occupation. To. this is opened the
objection "Life is too short." Too short for what? Not to
make sure of what nature has fitted you to do, and to prepare
to do it. The old adage "Make sure you arc right and then
go ahead," if heeded, would remove many college men from
uncongenial occupation, and put them where they could use
their powers to the good ol mankind.
The objection "Life is too short to get a general founda
tion for special work" is a miserable one. Believing and
acting on that supposition, colleges foisted upon the world
hundreds of specialists that prove to be special frauds. "Life
is too short" has lowered the, standard of education, and made
degrees worthless. So little faith have the people in men
with bachelor and doctor appendages to their names, that a
graduate of this institution said he would be better off with
out a degree. This is what specializing before a student has
an idea to specialize is doing for education.
This age of the world demands specialists it is true; but
it is making sorry use of the specialists who study grape mil
dens before learning botany and who study law before they
do civil government. Not specialists are wanted, but men
specially prepared by a general and a special course of train
ing that will enable them to become something more than
mimics encrusted in a special shell.
If elective courses have been adopted in our institution
that students may begin to specialize earlier, they will prove
a source of evil rather than of good.
There arc few transactions that are more calmly, coolly,
and practically effected than the borrowing and lending of
money. Sentiment and excitement, as a rule, have but little
effect upon such transactions. Hard-headed, close-fisted
busitfess principles govern in them almost entirely. The
exception proves the rule, In the month of October a not
able exception occurred. Russia desired to float a loan of
$100,000,000. It had been impossible to secure it in Ger
many. German capitalists and bankers had at first been
somewhat disposed to subscribe the loan. The German
press, however, took up the subject and denounced the pro
posed loan. No patriotic German, they declared, should
help Russia, the alleged friend of France. Russia alleged
that the money was to be used for railways and public
improvements. The Germans were strongly inclined to dis
believe this. They mistrusted that the money was to go to
trengthen Russia's preparations for war. The loan, accord
ingly, could not be secured in Germany on account of the
feeling of resentment there. The Russian minister of finance
at once went to Paris to secure the money. France was, of
course, highly pleased at the opportunity to help Russia; the
more so, no doubt, because Germany had refused to. Con
siderable excitement was caused by the matter in France.
So eager were the French people to show their spite toward
Germany and their friendliness toward Russia that they sub
scribed over seven Itmcs the amount that the Russian minis
ter asked for. This they did in spite of the fact that Russia
was floating the loan at a lower rate of interest than she had
ever paid before.
Owing to their persecution in Russia, many Jews have
migrated from that country to Jerusalem. Departing penni
less or nearly so, they arrived in Palestine more so. One
writer says: "Two hundred families more 'P'ere reported at
Jaffa a fcv days ago in a worse condition tht'n any before,
utterly destitute, many of them lying in streets and by-ways
starving and dying, without clothes to hide their nakedness."
If the Jews of Russia continue to migrate to Palestine Baron
Hirsch will find ample use for his ample millions. A more
wretched plight thnn these Russian Jews will be in as they
arrive in Palestine can hardly be imagined. Palestine ol
to-day is neither well populated nor well cultivated. Its
once fertile fields have, under the rule of the desert-making
Moslem, grown up in large part to rank tropical vegetation.
The population of the country is neither thrifty, civilized,
nor humane. Truly the Russian Jews as they come to Pales
tine will find nothing but suffering, destitution, even death
staring them in the face. The country of their fathers knowa
them not; they will come to know their parental land by a
sad and a woeful experience.
To most people the famine and destitution in the peasant
districts of Russia will appear a just retribution for the bar
barous persecution of the Jews. It is the innocent peasants,
though, that are the sufferers. Those responsible for the
persecutions avc not affected by the famine. Drouth in these
Russian districts spoiled this year's crops almost entirely.
That is the cause of the present suffering. In addition to
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