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The Freshman class was addressed by President Lowell on "The Choice of Electives" and by Dean Thayer, of the Law School, on "Law as a Profession", in New Lecture Hall yesterday afternoon.
President Lowell began his talk by briefly outlining the "elective-group" system, a comparatively recent institution at the University. He explained the four groups under which all courses are classed. The first question that arises is, What group shall a Freshman take as a main group? In advising what choice to make here, President Lowell warned men against selecting a large number of studies in a subject which they naturally dislike.
Liberal Education an Aim.
Admitting that a Freshman should not concentrate in studies to which he is averse, we may ask, "In what should he specialize?" Most people will say, "You'd better take as a backbone of your study that which you are going to make your life work." To this belief, however, President Lowell is a heretic. One of the objects of a course is to get certain points of view here which are not obtained in later life. If a man is going to be a physician, it is good for him to get a taste of literature in College. Whether right or wrong, this theory has something in it, and the studies which are directly in line with the lifework are not always the most beneficial studies.
The speaker then explained a diagram based on statistics from the standing of graduates in the Law School and the Medical School as compared with their standing in the College. In explaining the moral of this diagram, President Lowell struck one of the keynotes of his speech: "It makes comparatively little difference what you study in College, but it makes a great deal of difference as to how well you study it."
Study of Fundamental Subjects
In conclusion, President Lowell urged Freshmen to study subjects that are, on the whole, fundamental. This principle should be rigidly adhered to, and, even in distributing courses, the best courses are the heavy, solid ones. In answer to the question as to what years are the most desirable for concentration of studies, he pointed out that it is well to seatter courses throughout the four years, concentrating toward the end, if necessary.
"Law as a Profession."
Following President Lowell. Dean Thayer spoke on "Law as a Profession." In preparation for law, he said, it is necessary to do two things in College: first, to make oneself an educated man, and second, to learn how to work. After explaining and supporting both of these statements, he stated that he urged men especially to do one thing: to become masters of English, in a ready, strong, and eloquent expression of the mother tongue. Beyond this, the classics are as good a training for the law as are the social sciences or anything else.
Dean Thayer closed his talk by speaking of the inviting apportunities open to lawyers of today, and by advising men to take advantage of these opportunities
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