Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ben Stein: Old-School Lessons for the College-Bound

Sage Advice:
...Be Well-Rounded

Take courses that will be of genuine use to your mind. It's vital that every young person know U.S. history, European history, and geography. It's just as vital that you know Shakespeare, the English and American poets, and the classics of Greek and Roman literature.

These are the common currency of educated humans all over the western world. You mark yourself as civilized or uncivilized depending on how much you know of Wordsworth and Keats and Gibbon as much as by what you wear.

Science and I have long been uneasy bedfellows, but some knowledge of biology, botany, and physics is basic. Mathematics is the queen of science. You should take as much of it as you can.

You probably won't call upon these subjects in your daily life when you enter the workforce, but they're vitally important in teaching you how to think. And learning how to think is, above all, the main challenge you face in school. It's true that you have to know certain basic facts, but you should also know how to approach a problem, break it down, solve it, and write about it. That's why it's important to take English composition, and take it seriously...


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