At the end of the college year and the conclusion of all courses, except for the final examinations, it is customary for men to look back over the year's work in order to take account of their intellectual stock. In the majority of cases the results fail to fulfill their earlier resolutions and expectations. Some have accumulated a store of facts which will be promptly forgotten after the examinations, while a few have been able to understand the relative purpose of a particular course and to obtain a little permanent enlightenment.
Too frequently men have merely retaining minds which are capable of remembering any number of barren facts gained from the works of other men. But, unfortunately, a machine-like mind is not at a premium in the business and professional circles of today. The young man with a constructive mind is alone able to cope with existing problems. Thousands of men can add up columns of figures correctly, remember any number of recorded law cases, or know every law in chemistry,--but it is the exceptional man who with the aid of a constructive mind, can establish an improved system in the business organization of the country, or make a discovery in science.
Likewise in college courses, the great majority of men whose minds are normally active and penetrating are content to accept, and retain momentarily a mass of detailed facts. They forget that the dates and rules required in courses are only means intended to train their minds for future constructive work. A student should not regard his courses as a mere acquisition of facts, but as a development and broadening of his mind.