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A most deplorable misconception of the average young instructor is that Fate has destined him to achieve the illustrious rank of "Harvard Institution". As if the Copelands and Kittredges did not amply fill their roles of arch-indiosyncrasists in University life, the humble section man aspires, very unwisely, to work up through the intermediate grade of Temperamental Professor and supply the lack of eccentricity among the Gods of Learning.
Now let no one smother noble ambition; to follow a worthy ideal is very fine indeed. But the highest aspirations must be tempered with reason, and a bit of advice offered in good faith should be accepted in good faith. When the meek assistant in Economics A or Government I barges into a basement room of the New Lecture Hall, slams the door, slaps his brief-case upon the desk, and whacks his hat on top of the brief-case, he does not produce the desired effect of exciting the admiration and awe of his class. Rather is the reaction one of perplexity at the uselessness of human effort, or, perhaps, sympathy for misguided well-meanings.
And when an industrious satellite of Professor Merriman spends considerable energy outlining the irregularities of famous people to his students, resulting laughter, if any, comes not as approval of the instructor, but as a polite means of expressing curiosity that the chaste-looking young man should care so much for smutty details. The average undergraduate as not easily duped; chalk-throwing, stalking from side to side, original arm-motions, and other attempts at exalting the Unusual Personality merely rile him or inject utter despair.
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