Stein on college

Ben Stein is offering some stellar advice for college-bound students, ranging from how to relate to professors to how to dress and the importance of having outside interests. Read the whole article and pass it on to any first-year college student you know.

My favorite bits from the article:

[M]ake friends with your teachers. They’re human beings, not machines, and they want to have friends. They want to be liked and admired. They have exactly the same wishes about human relations that the rest of us have.

I wish more college students apprehended this fact. Professors seek close connections with students just as much as students say they want personal attention from professors. But too often we are simply objectified. Few things wear down the spirit of a professor than that.

If you and your teacher disagree on something, you shouldn’t be afraid to challenge him or her. Never do so rudely or cruelly (although you’ll be tempted), but teachers want you to challenge them if it’s based on facts and data and sound reasoning. They consider it a job well done when their students do that.

Yes! College students, listen: We like good arguments. We like it when students show that spark of tenacious, well-reasoned thinking, even (especially?) if it’s used on us.

Finally, this advice regarding taking lots of literature and mathematics and a modicum of science courses:

You probably won’t call upon these subjects in your daily life when you enter the workforce, but they’re vitally important in teaching you how to think. And learning how to think is, above all, the main challenge you face in school. It’s true that you have to know certain basic facts, but you should also know how to approach a problem, break it down, solve it, and write about it. That’s why it’s important to take English composition, and take it seriously.

Amen, brother Stein. Again — go read the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Instapundit]


Filed under Education, Higher ed, Life in academia, Student culture

2 responses to “Stein on college

  1. Pingback: Pseudo-Polymath » Blog Archive » Morning Highlights

  2. In treating professors like humans you can even go so far as to have one of them in your wedding party, even while you are still taking Abstract Algebra from them. 🙂