No man can be polished without contact with society. No character can be broad unless it has a sympathy for the beliefs, cares and successes of others. This is built up by intercourse with men. Broadness of thought requires contact with many.
Man‘s dependence on his fellow makes inexorable that decree of nature and nature’s God. No man can live to himself. The truth of all education lies in the fact that it equips men for life and its realities. Any education that does not is worthless. Much stress is laid on a college course, this is the sword; not enough emphasis falls on the necessity of muscle, experience and armor. A knight of the medieval days with nothing but his sword, in a bout with a dexterous, steel-clad opponent was no more helpless than the graduate of today is in the stern fight of life with nothing but education, his sword.
Seniors fight the unseen battles of the future, enemies fall before the edge of their weapon. When the real fight is on they need the muscle. “Life is real.” It makes little difference how much men know. All the difference is in what they do, other things being equal.
What is life?
Action is life.
How can we learn it?
Live in it and there feel the thrilling heart beat of humanity.
Many enter life from the rostrum of graduation day infants in a practical world. Why? simply, because they have neglected the social part of their education. The nature that apprehends deeper things of life is undeveloped. You say social graces are an accomplishment that you have no time for their luxuries. I say they are necessities.
The student wishes for happiness; this can only come from contact with others. A well rounded life is happiness. So in the basis of education lies the principle of sociability.
When the memory of intellectual triumphs is dead the deeper instincts for good touched by kind companionship will rise on the wings of memory from the chains of old age. We will never forget social friends. The ones, who as our minds were expanding helped us to make a broad foundation of conscience and love. The perfume of those flowers of kindness will make glad a desert of hard work. The institutions of action, the delicate kindness that can only grow by communion with kindred minds make a student readier for life’s conflicts.