Today’s post piggy-backs on yesterday’s post about what it means to have “graduated.” Last spring David Brooks wrote a different kind of article in the NYT about graduation and how we actively fail to adequately prepare college graduates for their post-college world. Pointing to the hackneyed themes of nearly every college commencement address given over the past half century, he notes that the baby-boomer mantra that you only need to “follow your dreams” omits the fine print about the work of developing skills, confronting problems and constructing a life.
Some key bits:
College grads are often sent out into the world amid rapturous talk of limitless possibilities. But this talk is of no help to the central business of adulthood, finding serious things to tie yourself down to. The successful young adult is beginning to make sacred commitments… Today’s graduates are also told to find their passion and then pursue their dreams. The implication is that they should find themselves first and then go off and live their quest. But, of course, very few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self… Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life… Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.
Click here to read the whole thing. It’s some tough medicine – but definitely worth a read whether you’re in school or have a son or daughter there.