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In an article entitled "The Freshman" published in the last "Outlook" Dean Castle has contributed an enlightening exposition of some of the influences to which a freshman is subject before and after entering college. He scouts the idea that the innate badness of the freshman soul is responsible for the downward trail that many take in their first year. "The true reason," he says, "is the innate goodness of the freshman soul, its untried, untutored purity." Although he blames the home training that has not gradually educated a boy to the use of his liberty, he accepts on the part of the college a share of the responsibility for the freshman's choosing the wrong path. College receives men potentially good, it should graduate them actively good.
Dean Castle finds the remedy of conditions as they stand in the appointment of younger instructors "who have gone through college with open eyes, receptive mind, and clean hands; who have appreciated temptations and withstood them--men, many of whom will not cling to teaching as a profession but who are eager to rectify in still younger men, the mistakes they themselves have made, and who are teachers because of their desire to be of service."
Although those of us who are freshmen now and those who look back upon freshman year as no period of prehistoric history do not like to be told of the "untried and untutored purity of our souls" in so many words, yet we must admit that it is perhaps the wisest and certainly the most generous explanation of our faults. The article is interesting inasmuch as the suggested remedy reveals the fact that there are some who believe that Harvard may be greatly benefited by a modification of her system upon lines resembling in a certain degree the preceptorial system at Princeton. To those who are under any misapprehension that the College Office is inhabited by a group of unreasonable officers always opposed to the undergraduates' point of view, the article is especially recommended, for if anything is revealed it is that the Office aims to understand a problem as the student sees it and with him work for its solution.
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