November, 1932

The DEANS corner

An Interpretation

By 0. J. ferguson

IT IS not too great an assumption to make, I am sure, that every reader of this Corner has: been to church, and has even listened to many sermons. My particular emanation today is an attempt to put into practical terms one of these sermons, which, of course, you have all heard. I don't recall what the text was—and perhaps you may not either but you will have no difficulty in identifying the sermon after I have discussed my interpretation of it.

Year after year, a long procession of students comes under my observation. Many there are who do not know that I am observing them. Others are closely enough in touch with me to realize that their going's and comings are a part of the general impression which I have of the university and college community. A few come into my office frequently, for consultation, advice, and service. The opportunity which I have is large, and my reasons for forming estimates are obvious.

In presenting some of the results of these observations, let me first remark that, as a body, our engineering students have a purposeful approach to their college studies which has a distinct vitalizing influence upon their work. They play the game because they have in mind a coveted goal,

Even the man who comes to college without having made a choice of his vocation may have a distinct objective—that of self-improvement, of becoming an educated man, ready to "conquer the elements."

But, all of this falls short of what society expects a man to do and to be, and it is in this particular that I see an incomplete and inadequate plan of life being followed by our students.

You are the beneficiaries of the numerous real advantages of school training, social rights, physical protection and well-being afforded to you by society--Are you not personally obligated to repay these gratuities? Does dad's money cover it all? Do you not have an uneasy feeling that you should be looking beyond the confines of your own advantages into the field of welfare of other folk? Is it enough to say, "Well, I'll take my turn at it ten years hence"?

Why postpone to the indefinite future the beginnings of your partial payments?

Now, I'm not talking about money. So much as I am regarding the attitude of helpfulness which is quite possible and yet rather unusual. I am rather shocked by the general air of selfishness exhibited by the average student. He seems chiefly concerned with his own round of unavoidable burdens and his pleasures. His week-end gaieties may or may not be very gay, but they attain a hold upon him which he cannot shake. He will not forego them for the sake of doing any public service.

His energies are not available for the upbuilding-of The Blue Print. He refuses to serve on departmental society committees, or to: participate in the programs. So far as he is concerned, the foreign student may look out for himself, The Y. M. C. A. program of service to students is nothing to him. The self-supporting student may grind—and continue to grind. The newcomer may take his troubles back home with him. The community need expect no response from him, in the way of Boy-Scout leadership. Let the Wolf Cubs howl for a pack leader.

Does, this, average student remind you of yourself?

Let me ask: Is this community one whit better off for your having lived in it? Be honest. Take all the credit you can rightfully. Then, answer to yourself the question, "Isn't it high time I began paying up, by interesting myself in the other fellow?"

And I will prophesy that when you have done this, enjoyment and satisfaction will take on new meanings to you. And, moreover, you will be preparing yourself to live advantageously in a world which demands unselfish living of engineers, as of other men.

We need not worry over the fact that many little fellows will never yield in their convictions, because it will not make any difference if they happen to be wrong.