The Working Man

An Alternative to Graduate Study

June Harvard College more than 1000 seniors for which most of them are unprepared. At least 650 seniors will have to grapple with the complexities of real life for months, after which they back into the protective arms Grad School. But even go out into the big wide sooner or later, and they are , not escaping, the shock of immersion into real-.

Harvard has traditionally avoided anything of vocational use, no one will criticize the for this. There should be a a strictly liberal arts college American educational system, with the Cornells and Michigan the bastions of hotel management and cow culture.

It is one thing to be a liberal arts and quite another to be an for academic nit-picking College's growing academic already made large inroads extra-curricular enterprises. It has, J. Bender '27, former Dean , pointed out in his final prepared the way for an academic elitism that would make Harvard home for brittle, sterile and practically no one else. It has begun to render meaningless concepts of a general, liberal .

It has never undertaken to a trade. But, at least in the days, it was supposed to give something that would enrich lives in the world, and add to their work. The idea was that whether a man turned out to be a or a house painter, he better for having gone to and for having sampled some . Certainly the idea was Harvard should be open only who wanted a stepping-stone to further academic pursuits. Harvard should be providing an education for life, however lived, and not an education for education.

Yet in the entire Class of 1961, only 145 men, 15 per cent of the total, took a full-time job after graduation. At that, this percentage was the largest in recent years. There is every reason to assume it will not rise again this year, especially since only 71 members of the Class of '62, just seven per cent of the total, contemplated working for a living at registration time last fall.

Even the figure of 15 per cent gives an exaggerated picture of the working ambitions of the Class of '61. Of the 145 prospective members of the labor force, fully 81 (or 56 per cent) definitely planned to go on to graduate school in the future. For them and most of the other 34 (23 per cent of the group) who were considering the possibility of further study, work was a means to an end, and seemingly not something to be enjoyed for itself. In all, nearly four out of every five men who went to work after graduation hoped to return to school at some future time.

On the other hand, 616 members of the Class of '61 (64 per cent of the total) planned immediate graduate study. Of the 144 entering military service after graduation, 85 (59 per cent of the group) were definitely going to graduate school later, and another 24 (17 per cent) were wavering. Of the 28 men who planned to travel, 10 were expected to wind up in a graduate school eventually. Thus 792 members of the Class definitely were bound for graduate schools, either immediately or as soon as practicable. This puts the grad school figure at 82 per cent, and the inclusion of those who were still just considering further study moves it near 88.

Indications are that in the Class of 1962, nearly 70 per cent will proceed immediately to graduate school, and that the proportion of the Class either planning further study at some time or toying with the idea will be greater than 90 per cent.

NOW of course, there is nothing evil about graduate study per se; certainly, for some people it is a meaningful addition to undergraduate education. But when 90 per cent of the Senior Class entertains thoughts of attending graduate school, something is terribly, disturbingly wrong. Either the College is admitting too many academically oriented students, or it is encouraging scholarly pretensions in too many men, or it is doing both of these things and most probably making other errors as well. If Harvard cannot instill in its students any values other than academic ones, it fails as a liberal arts college.


The 1961 statistics on post-graduate plans included other disturbing figures. Far and away the largest number of grad students were remaining in the Arts and Sciences, the most undirected and purposeless of all the paths of study. A total of 218 members of the Class of '61, 35 per cent of those planning graduate study, continued in Arts and Sciences.

Another bad sign was that for the first time in many years, Law pushed past Medicine into second place on the list of graduate fields. One hundred forty-eight seniors (24 per cent of the immediate grad students) planned to enter law schools, while only 141 (23 per cent) intended to study Medicine. This may be an unhappy turn of events, because of the motivations involved. Generally speaking, the decision to study Medicine is thought out well before senior year. The difficulties of becoming a doctor are so great that only the truly dedicated make the attempt; and those who do usually have prepared themselves for the task during college.

A recent article in Time may that reluctance to leave the academic womb is the least of the grad students' motives, but roughly 45 percent of the Class of '61 applied to at least one Harvard graduate school. About of the 472 applications were and 146 men, 24 per cent of all planning immediate graduate were expected to come back to Harvard last fall. It must be admitted that Harvard does have some of the country's best graduate schools, but love must have played a part, in the decisions of the 92 who to the GSAS.

THE correlation between undergraduate grades and immediate not cheering. It is to be expected that less than half the regular A. go on to further study, more than nine out of 10 of the highest and summas. Unfortunately this statistical relationship all too often leads to the conclusion that jobs are for those who are too dumb for graduate school, which in turn makes everything a little worse.

It is a frequent claim that those who were Group IV or Group V students at Harvard are the ones who go on to great things in the world of and public affairs. It may that it requires a different mentality to succeed in the than it does in the eyes of the and that this circumstance should be. But it also may be distaste for the mundane affairs world that Harvard cultivates its more successful students many good men out of public service. Here again, Harvard may be failing in its task to educate leaders of the nation.

It is important not to be the Kennedy-led Harvard boom at the moment. It little impression on . Only six students, four per those going immediately to work in jobs connected with any kind of governmental agency.

Time's recent article sees the graduate study binge mainly as on the part of seniors to jobs. In support of this, it quotes H. Mullin '62, First Marshall Class and a gifted student and as saying of his Marshall Oxford, "I knew right from the beginning of college that graduate school would be the thing. No, sir, jobs later on will open up for higher degrees."

hesitates to question such a magazine, but it seems that Time has once again stated the case exactly . The report on the Class of As more men plan to go on for study, college recruiters from and industry, who have since come to campuses to attract men to the advantages of a career, are steadily realizing law of diminishing returns has set in, and are now coming numbers each year to those were most of the graduates studies. The number of coming to Harvard has 30 per cent in the past four .

an extra degree helps a career is problematical. In , when you begin, you very near the bottom. And study delays embarking career by a number of years, it could be a handicap as easily as it could be an aid. And someone to Oxford in order to advance business career is suffering from a bad case of mixed motives. with a bow to Time's fabled that does not sound like the I knew.

Clearly, something is out of . Three factors seem to enticements to graduate study: struggle, the College's scholasticism, and--perhaps important and certainly the -- the iconoclastic, disrespectful attitude of the body. This state of surely a most precious part of the Harvard experience, but its consequences for life in the outside world painful to endure.

5500 men applying annually places in the College's freshman class, the academic pressure on students has grown Anxious parents and tense with the certainty that, what- colleges like Harvard may say a well-rounded class, off in the end on intellectual academic achievement. This conditions students' in high school and perhaps further back than that, making excellence the only goal pursuing. As Michael Shinagel, Director of the Office for and Career Plans, notes in on the Class of '61 ". . . it formative period of calculated for college, with its emphasis and consistent academic , that any intellectual or professionalism owes its .

orgins, perhaps, but not its . That task has been left for college, which has performed it . The Honors candidate is often the only one who really with the result that more than each class now graduates cum higher. This is not necessarily development; it means, as points out, greater than the desired performance and in plans for . Recent developments, like Department's decision to tutorial to students in and II only, have reinforced unfortunate trend.

courses reflect an overly concern with minutiae, with the great ideas of past man. Lower-level courses have become technical and specialized, any have abdicated their nominal --to give those who may not in the discipline an scope and reach.

malady afflicts other courses, R. H. Chapman taught 160, Drama Since Ibsen, to a diversified class this spring, passed up the opportunity to students from all fields in the theater. Instead, he made the a typical English in-group topping it off with exam , "Choose a distinctive and object from Henry IV, The of the Western World, and , and relate it to the meaning of the play," and "Discuss of the use of visible --light to dark, man to animal, to myth, victim to hero, or -- as a dramatic device." are many other examples of , concentration-oriented .

all this, however, there is other force at work at Harvard. sort of force that makes suffer through a three-year period of adjustment can face the outside world , that leaves more than of the members of the Class in doubt about whether the had five years after were right for them.

In the report on the Class of '61, perhaps the most significant observation was this: "Every senior registrant in the fall received the following questionnaire card in his registration envelope, but not every senior questionnaire card in his registration envelope, but not every senior questionnaire found its way back to this office; in fact, we were missing cards from 15 per cent of our sample for the fall survey.

Evidently, 15 per cent of the class didn't think it was worth the time to fill out a short questionnaire at registration, so they didn't bother. Harvard students just do not concern themselves with matters in which they have no interest. They study and go to class only when they want to. They get up at whatever hour of the morning or afternoon suits them, and they devote an amazingly large percentage of each day to doing exactly what they feel like doing. And the way Harvard men learn to think, in their violent sort of existentialism, the order of the day, be it studying or working on the CRIMSON or sleeping with someone, becomes the most important thing in the world.

Harvard students go days without shaving or bathing, and then they dress to the nines for no reason at all. They act the way they please, and they say precisely what they think. Living like this, among many others of equal brilliance and similar aberrations, is hardly preparation for the world to come.

And further, the Harvard man has an immense scorn for the desires and pursuits for others. He laughs at grinds, jocks, music wonks, and professors. He thinks business is boring and a waste of time, and he feels that all politicians are crooked and misled. There is an iconoclasm that slashes through pretension and everything that looks to the undergraduate like pretension, which means practically all organized activity.

THE freedom at Harvard, the excitement of the present moment, is not matched anywhere else, not at any other college and certainly not in the world outside. This spontaneity is a wonderful thing; and it often can't last long after graduation. But it is also destructive, because it offers no real alternative to the regulated life that must come. Many Harvard graduates go through life feeling vaguely dissatisfied and not knowing why. They still seek the freedom of undergraduate Harvard, but it no longer has anything to offer them.

A sometimes cruel Harvard tradition is the 25th Reunion report, which member of the class to for himself after 25 years. The alumni are forced to look back lives in the world, and to to what some of them a stern, almost skeptical .

of them, embarrassed by their jobs, try to pass them off as way to eat. In a recent instance, one said, " mundane demands of life met by employment, since the service of Standard Oil (New Jersey) . . ." while it this way: "The steel and scrap, has become my way of life, and it's all right, for eating."

to attach some sort meaning to their to some cosmic example: "Still, being a has certain compensations. very old and not very ,' there is no pretense transaction. The client pays and gets what he pays for. doctors, lawyers, preachers, etc., does not have to operate on a higher level. In simple honesty and is itself a virtue, perhaps virtue--certainly one that has and cannot be taken ."

for every report that shows signs of discontent, there is sounds as though its author satisfied. Yet this fact solace to the looks with unmitigated horror report that says the writer owes good old Consolidated or one that concludes, "I we would be considered town, up-state New Yorkers that may mean to my -- and as such, looking at the moment of this writing, out of the 15-inch that this 25th year, 1961!" The thinks there must be life than this. But what, he is .

the climate in which the lives and thrives at may be the factor that militates against satisfaction in . Harvard's absolute freedom , thought, and action is for at once a weighty and a precious, irretrievable