At Deep Springs College, I received a copy of the student body bylaws and instructions for treating snakebites. This was my orientation.
This was beautiful and a reminder of all the valuable things Americans have lost in the last few decades. Thank you for the glimmer of hope that there are still young people out there striving for something deeper and more real than the status quo.
Our school system emphasizes education--it's a focus on knowledge-about. Information. The encyclopedia. Education is driver's ed class that tells you all you need to know to drive a car.
Deep Springs appears to go back to an older deeper development process. Formation for Wisdom. Wisdom is the knowledge that comes from experience. You become what you do--thinking habits and doing habits. Formation-Wisdom = who you are after you've spent 1,000 hours driving in all weather and traffic conditions.
Form yourself and your kids.
How does a college like that go about getting accredited? It sounds like a good model for turning kids into intelligent adults.
'But through the fog, I saw the dim figure of my team leader, who’d walked the quarter mile from campus through the driving rain just to make sure I was all right. It’s difficult to describe the emotional impact of a moment like that.' - Yes, Benjamin, it is difficult. Your essay brought this feeling to life for me. Thank you for taking the time to write it. How did it make me feel? Heartened.
I’m decades past college...and I wanna go!
"His mother knew at once what he meant: he meant he was going to have a nervous breakdown. She did not say a word. She did not say that this was precisely what she could have told him what would happen. When people think they are smart -- even when they are smart -- there is nothing anybody else can say to make them see things straight, and with Asbury, the trouble was that in addition to being smart, he had an artistic temperament. She did not know where he had got it from because his father, who was a lawyer and businessman and farmer and politician all rolled into one, had certainly had his feet on the ground; and she had certainly always had hers on it. She had managed after he died to get the two of them through college and beyond; but she had observed that the more education they got, the less they could do. Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything."
- Flannery O'Connor, "The Enduring Chill"
This was fantastic and I’m sharing with my teenagers. I joined the Army at 17 and had many of these experiences although in a more structured way. With our military and nation run by idiots, I see the service as a less attractive option for my kids, so I’m actively looking for other ways to replicate the very positive formative experiences I got from the Army. Deep Springs and the other colleges mentioned look like excellent alternatives.
Well done. I grew up on a farm in far west Texas and experienced much of what you describe as it pertains to the work and value of it.
My cousin who went to Deep Springs ended up at Harvard for the last two years of his degree so I am not entirely certain how anti-Harvard it is. But I do know it is a special place and he remains very glad of his time spent there.
TFP has a knack for finding incredible young writers. These are the kind of young people that bring hope.
Thomas Jefferson would have greatly approved of the Deep Springs approach.
Interesting essay but I don’t think that cattle guards are ‘bars laid over a trench to trip up escaping cows’. I think they are, usually, a set of round bars or pipes that are inset into the ground at gates that hinder cattle because cattle don’t like to walk on the rounded surfaces which are unsteady for hooved feet.
So jealous! We need more of this for our young people!
A great essay!
This is making me want to adjust my Catechism instruction. Very well done.
Good gracious, that was amazing to read. Thank you.