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Today's leaders of education have dealt thoroughly with the problems of who should be admitted to our universities and what they should be taught, but little attention has been paid the perplexing situation which faces almost every student upon graduation. If educators are interested in the implanting of aim into the student mind and its direction toward some goal, they should also consider how, under present economic conditions, he can best use his training. Although the university's purpose may not be vocational, it is essential that its teaching take interest in the student by including some hint of social obligation. A far-sighted educational policy should have an indirect means of showing him what field or profession to enter and, just as important, the right locality in which to pursue it. The graduate of 1938 must be prepared to fight for a secure place in society, but he should also be aware of his relation to society. This is something which the universities can instill.
Many young graduates have the old Yankee idea that they belong where the opportunity for material gain is greatest and easiest. Told to go forward, but not where, graduates of the past fifty years seemed to have evolved the tradition of money-grubbing by seeking positions which would pay the highest salaries merely because they did pay them. During the industrialization of the last century most millionaires made their wealth without social regard and only thought of society post facto--sometimes to ease their conscience. The desire for security--which involves comfort, leisure, marriage--is intelligent, but the ambition to make money for the sake of money should have been buried with the primitive Forty Niners. The tradition of money-making has delayed intellectual progress; it has tended to narrow the American mind and stifle the enthusiasm for social improvement. It is a serious handicap to the graduate in the process of adjusting himself to society.
Because he was born in an American community, the graduate is as much responsible to it as his thought and action affect it. Upon his job he imposes the ideas he has formulated in college, and if he has an altruistic interest in his country's future, he will try to use his education so that it benefits the place in which he works. For many graduates the process of translating education into practical terms, which makes it useful to society, can be most wisely done in their home community. It is ideal that when ready to enter the business world, the graduate turn home rather than to some new community. The farm boy, for instance who settles in Wall Street is selfishly wasting his education, as far as his home is concerned. The present trend toward decentralization,--the urban river running backwards--suggests that the graduate think of his own community, for as each community becomes more integrated, the need for the knowledge gained by its youth increases. With the age of social well-being on the horizon, educators must soon recognize the problem of misused education, and instead of leaving the student on the threshold of life to grope for his niche, they should point out the advantages of applying his training in his own community. It is time for a new Horace Greeley to rise and shout, Go Home, Young Man.
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