You graduates have every right to expect penetrating words of profound wisdom. Unfortunately, though, I am going to have to disappoint you and present to you a multiple-choice test the last of your college career.
The only consolations that I can offer in presenting the test are that you may consult texts freely, the test is self-scoring, and you have a lifetime at your disposal now to complete it.
This exam will be proctored, though. The proctors will be two — the community in which you live and, hardest taskmaster of all, your inner self.
What do you do with your education now that you have it — and now that it is beginning to become obsolete even as you sit here?
Choose one of five possible answers.
Put your diploma in a convenient drawer and close the drawer. Put whatever textbooks you’ve accumulated in a bookcase and close the bookcase. Put your mind to the dailiness of earning a satisfactory livelihood and close your mind.
I should warn you that it will take a bit of doing to follow this course with the rigour that it deserves.
You will have to take care not to read anything except, in the case of men, the sports pages or, in the case of women, columns of household hints.
You’ll have to choose your friends with extreme care to make sure that you don’t rub up against any stimulating personalities.
You’ll have to build your own defences against a world of complex realities that will insist on trying to intrude on you at the most inconvenient times.
But it can be done. I’ve known college graduates who have achieved it. They’ve wrapped themselves in an apathy so thick that they’re in position to say in all truth, “No opinion,” to any pollster who might question them on any subject.
It’s a choice that’s available to you. Choice one.
Go forth into that waiting world, carefully assess the prevailing opinions, and then conform.
Forget this theoretical nonsense they’ve been feeding you here.