Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/256

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ciates teach me more than my books and class work." Possibly they do, but it is not the fault of the books nor of the classes, nor any compliment to the associates. He says, "I study men, not books." This is sound, if rightly interpreted, but he should know that there are some men besides freshmen well worth knowing. Some of them can only be known by going to their books. He should learn to study individuals as well as masses, the world's teachers as well as his own classmates; he should look up as well as around. The college course is certainly a failure if it has not given the student lasting acquaintanceships with a few superior students, some great men on its faculties, and many of the world's intellectual élite, who can only be known through the pages of history and the great literatures of all ages. Great ideals which become guiding stars of one's destiny should be clearly glimpsed. The great laws of science should have banished superstition forever from his mind and given him a new interpretation of universal development and history. Finally a clear conception of philosophical principles should act as a great balance wheel enabling him to interpret life and all its manifold activities. It is through books and master minds that the student should get meaning for all his varied observations and activities. To regard books and class work as inferior and something to be endured is to miss the whole point of a college education. Colleges are founded and maintained for the specific purpose of furnishing books and teachers, and all class work, once selected, should have the right of way. Student programs should not be so overloaded but that all the accessories may be duly emphasized. Recreation as well as work should become a part of one's religion. The gospel of relaxation needs evangelists as well as the gospel of work.

It is important for the student to understand early the force and value of habit. Much time is lost by every one of us because our early training did not render automatic all those activities that we have to perform constantly and in the same way. Purely mechanical work can be controlled more economically by lower nervous centers than by higher. In childhood and youth the nervous system is plastic, a prime condition for memorizing and fixing habits. Among the habits that should become ingrained during this period are those of correct bodily postures and activities, correct speech, the multiplication table, spelling, writing, those involved in learning to speak foreign languages, etc. Most habits are controlled by the spinal cord, which is early developed. Hence we should form habits early, so that the brain may be relieved later of mechanical work and be concerned with higher operations. As Dr. Balliet has observed, "At first a child uses his brain in walking, later he can walk from habit and walks therefore with his spinal cord. As first we spell with painful consciousness, later we spell familiar words of our vocabulary with little