The persons who entertain the opinion we have mentioned would probably give as reasons for it, that college men live a desultory and aimless life, pick up such crumbs of knowledge as come in their way, but do not prepare themselves for any active pursuit, and when set adrift, find themselves helpless, unwilling to begin at the foot of the ladder, and yet unprepared to begin any higher. Granted that there are a considerable number of students who go through college in this manner, and find themselves in a perplexity as to what to do after graduation, this fact cannot be given a general application. A good many go through college badly, and a good many go through it well. We think there is no doubt that those who go through it well, that is, with diligence and method, are superior on their own ground to the men who enter business or a profession without a collegiate education.
It is not what students actually learn in college that is to be of value to them in active life, it is the mental training which they receive. A level head and a broad judgment will be active and intelligent in whatever work they are engaged; and this breadth of judgment and intelligence of thought is just what college with its four years of recitations and examinations will give to any person who is capable of receiving it. It is untrue, then, to say that a man who has derived these advantages from a college course is inferior to the man who has not done so.
Since there will always be persons without sufficient judgment to discredit general remarks, those who pretend to be liberally educated should avoid them for the sake of their own reputation for common-sense. A man can make more sweeping assertions in five minutes than he could prove in a lifetime, and a habit of doing so is almost invariably a sign of an immature mind and a narrow judgment.