Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, January 15, 1890, Page 3, Image 3

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" ,.
light of the previous election but in the light of all
past history. The college graduate has not all the
practicality and common sense that the veteran
self-made editor has, but he will get it a great deal
sooner than did that same editor. Besides, he has much
that the self educated man is without, unless the lat
ter has delved for years, against every disadvantage,
in the field of learning. The college press furnishes
just that preparatory work which the college man
needs if he intends to enter journalism. The training
he there receives differs from actual journalism chiefly
in degree, but little in kind. The "college world" in
indeed the world in miniature. There are few insti
tutions of "real life" which have not their counterparts
in college life. The college editor deals with these as
does his mightier contemporary with thegravei affairs
of the world. He learns to think and to make words
tell what he thinks. Nor is the college paper an instru
ment of good only to those who expect to enter jour
ism. Every college editor who has faithfully perform
ed his duties has learned much that he could have
learned in no other way, has gained experience that
will be useful to him in any pursuit he may afterwards
engage in. College journalism has grown mighty in
the last few years, but it has not. not reached its full
stature nor its widest influence. It will make itself
felt and respected as a great factor in education. We
have had our turn at college editing, and we feel bet
ter and stronger for it. We turn this particular speci
men of college journalism over to our successor, feel
ing that he, too will come to love the work, and to
' feel glad that he was once a college editor.
Some time ago the Senior class of the University pre
sented a petition to the faculty asking that commencement
orations be done away with, and that instead an orator
fiom abroad be secured to address the assembled multitude
on commencement day. The faculty have not taken action
on the petition, so far as we know. If they have, what we say
may be taken as justification of that action, if favorable, or as
a protest against it, if unfavorable. Such a petition, from a class
approaching that day which has by time-honored custom
come to be the day of days for parade and superficial show
of accomplishments, means something. It would not be just
to ascribe the action to laziness, to desire to avoid extra
work, for the experience of years has shown that to write a
graduating oration is a privilege to be striven for, not refused.
It is a chance to appear distinguished above one's fellows, to
be the cynosure of many eyes. It is, in a sense, an opportu-
" nity to represent the institution which has given all the
wealth of knowledge which is displayed; to show to the
world what a man may become who drinks at this particular
fountain of learning. Is a little paltry work' to weigh equally
in the balance against these privileges? Thousands of com
mencement orators answer, No ! No more can we ascribe
the action to a feeling that the class has no member fit to set
before the public as a sample of what a college man or
woman should be. Was there ever a class graduated which
did not include several such paragons? No, these reasons
had little weight in bringing the class to decide against gradu
ating orations. Rather they had come to feel that this medi
eval custom was out of place in the practicality of the present
age. It is a survival, and even survivals have limits to their
usefulness tand proper '.'term of existence. The class of '90
has in sober judgment deemed that limit now to be reached.
They have felt that the tinkling rhetoric and the gay flowers,
the fine clothes and the admiring audience, arc perhaps fit
ting accompaniments of the lighter pleasures of the college
course, but arc out of place at the moment when those
pleasures arc to be exchanged for the'stcrn realities of earn
ing one's living. This exaltation at the close of college life,
but makes the contrast greater between the glories of that
day and the meanness of the country school or clerkship which
follows. They fail to sec the necessity for an institution of
learning to have an annual "opening" like a millinery shop
or a dry goods store. They fail to sec the relation of the
pomp and parade of commencement to earnest striving after
knowledge. They fail to see that it is just for the public to
expect a man to put an epitome of four year's learning, and
the result of mental trainirv- for'a like period, into a ten
minute oration. In a word, they refuse to be judged of the
world by one brief, dazzling appeatance, but prefer to be
approved or condemned according as their work as men and
women, parts of society, is good or bad. The faculty may
not see these things in the way wc have put them, but we
know that some of them are favorable to the granting of the
petition. Wc hope that all feel so, and that the class of '90
may be the first to go out of the University in a sensible,
businesslike manner, free from all the cant, hypocrisy and
vanity so characteristic of the ordinary commencement.
Then will the jealousy, wrangling, and heart-burnings of
aspirants for graduating honors be stilled. Then will the
pique of doting and offended parents have no cause for ex
istence. Then too will graduates be less likely to consider
themselves conquering heroes, turned loose for the world to
pay homage to. If this be not the year when custom is to be
left in the lurch, and common-sense is to prevail, we pray
that our immediate successors may put their case more
strongly, and receive the consideration due to the merits of
their request.
No doubt everyone has thought the same at one time or
another; what is circumstance. Perhaps all have agreed that
the saddest of saddening reflections is, "if it only might have
been." But how many are there, who have lived enough to
be able to put away individuality, will, and say there is no
"might have been" no "may be." It costs an effort to do it.
It means the giving up. of confident aspirations, of self-satisfied
independence, and brings a realizing sense of weakness
that is far from acceptable to a strong mind and will. It
docs not cause, necessarily, a selfish indiflerencc to events,
but it docs cause calm contentment and a broad-minded
estimate of men and times. For, to say there is no "may
be," is to say that an unchangeable power rules men, and
takes from history the glory of human achievement and places
it where it really belongs, but without robbing humanity of
its responsibility.
In his "Philosophy of War," Count Tolstoi discusses this.
He takes up "Napoleon's Russian Campaign" and traces its
course to show that it could not have taken place under any
other circumstances nor have manifested itself in any other
form. He also shows how, according to his view, Napoleon
is no more responsible for the good or evil of that campaign