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May 24, 1959 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-05-24
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The Senior: A Classroon

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Exploring ideas

(Continued from Page 9)
Yes, the University senior is dif-
ferent, or is it the freshman who
is different because he's 'green'
and lets it show that he expects
education, class attendance, class
participation and a sincere, if
sometimes awkward pursuit of
scholarship to be part of university
life?" asked one professor.
". .not so much the pupil-
not so eager and wide-eyed as the
freshman . .
BUT THE -senior does see the
world more clearly, empha-
sizes one faculty member. "The
freshman usually has a highly
over-simplified view of the world
and life, seeing things in black
and white terms. By the time they
become seniors, they gain a sense
of the complexity of life, a de-
veloping sense of 'humility, and
more impatience with verbiage,
The changes he sees in attitude,
the faculty member admitted, are
perhaps wishful thinking. But one
faculty member offered statistical
.evidence to show that at least the
approach might change.
Averaging the grades over a
three semester period in the same
course, he found the following re-
sult: seniors-B plus, juniors-B,
sophomores-B minus. The figures
have some significance because
this is a large lecture course.
"Evidently exposure to a college
education' does some good;" he
discounted the possibility that the
results were due to the "survival
of the fittest," noting Michigan's

comparatively low drop-out rate.c
He acknowledged that he was un-
able to correct the data by age,2
thus compensating for the as-,
sumption that "natural maturing,
even out of college, would enablet
a students of 22 to do better thanl
a student of 18."
HE PASSAGE of the years
drew special attention from
several faculty members.
"The senior has realized his time1
is getting short, and that now is
his last opportunity to take ad-
vantage of the tremendous possi-;
bilities for culture that he has
largely ignored before."
Perhaps because of a realiza-
tion of this, most of the faculty
members did not feel that stu-
dents are spending too much time!
on non-academic pursuits. "The+
senior does not spend too much
time on his academic pursuits, the
artistic, social and athletic as-
pects of University life are, in
my opinion, every bit as important
as the class work," wrote one
member of the speech department.
"I do not feel that a student
spends too much time on non-
academics until he begins to fail'
courses," said one engineering pro-
fessor while a colleague of his add-
ed "most of them could spend
more time in non-academics."
A similar viewpoint was shared
by architecture and design faculty
members, with one calling his stu-
dents "almost too serious and hard
HOWEVER, strong opposing
views were registered by two
other faculty members.
One wrote "My general impres-
sion is that the seniors at the Uni-
versity of Michigan are not as
highly motivated for academic
effort as were my students of com-
parable level, at a private univer-
sity. Social life at Michigan seems
to intrude on the interest of the
student body . . . such things as
football games seem to have great
importance here."
The other one said "I retain the
feeling that seniors are too social-
conscious in ways that interfere
with their work ... I may be old
fashioned but I think one of the
greatest obstacles to either men
or women keeping their minds on
their work is the constant presence
of the opposite sex in the areas
where they retire for contempla-
tion. I think that the average
senior starts thinking of him- or
herself as a future groom, hus-
band, bride, wife, mother, etc. long
before he or she should . . . there
are more ways for the upperclass-
man to be beguiled from his pur-
poses than we realize, but that
only the maturer students can
maintain a balance."
THE MATURITY, stability, the
attitude of the student and in
short the problem of what kind
of individual is the senior was
gingerly approached by faculty
members. About the only con-
sistant reactions were that stu-

dents, are not draft-dodgers, or1
social climbers, as the facultyz
members affirmed their faith that
"students are interested in ex-1
tracting as much knowledge ast
Also, they emphasized, "it's im-I
possible to make generalizations,
Even the supposedly greater ma-
turity was attacked by one faculty
member. "While the average sen-
ior appears to have become out-
wardly more mature, he's still es-
sentially aimless, despite having
Other comments on the seniors
are that they are: "terribly naive;
and untried youngsters who man-
fully endeavor to come of age in
a hot-house atmosphere. One has
only to think of depression years
and post World War II to ascer-
tain at once that the current crop
of undergrads has no overwhelm-
ing problems of overwhelming im-
"UNAWARE that life can be ter-
ribly evil because they have
never wanted for anything, they
thus tend to be unreceptive to

philosophy and history, attracted "
more by courses which offer' to
them meaningful ways of handling cap
the world, i.e., psychology, sociol- lea
ogy . .." wh
". concerned about his ap- I
parant effort to conform to gain obs
acceptance and to find security by
within his grgup and within the be
larger sphere of society." . . . "they
are not setting their goals high we
enough." tut
"Many students seem more cocky
than a decade or so ago." ve:
"He usually comes to grip with tre
a whole host of problems that of
make him less cocky . . . which rei
sober him,. which turn him into th
an individual at least somewhat pa
aware that life is at least some- p
what grimmer than his own high
school experience has ever shown do
him." ab
" . honest and sincere young th
men who are trying to understand hir
the world in which we live and to
discover their roles in it. They are Un
interested in finding solutions to fa
their own problems, but are equally de
concerned about the welfare of fe
the groups with which they are th
associated, including the Univer- se
sity."$ fe

'A good educational background for _a ch


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. . . . . 2.65
(While they Last),

Over 50 years of MORRILL support
NO 3-2481 314 South State
JNDAY, MAY 24, 1959

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