More positive than the last one, too.
There's a Times article up on highly selective universities and colleges encouraging their students to relax for a change:
You can't blame the undergraduates at the nation's most selective colleges for feeling confused.
They started building their résumés in high school, or even earlier, for entry into the top colleges that they had been led to believe would assure their future happiness. Following the advice of school guidance counselors, college admissions consultants and parents, they worked relentlessly to amass all the right academic and extracurricular credentials.
Now they are at their prestigious colleges, and increasingly they are told to relax and enjoy their educations. Colleges today are preaching the value of "balance," "unstructured time" and "learning for learning's sake."
In a letter to Harvard undergraduates written three years ago, which is still widely circulated, Harry R. Lewis, who was then the dean of Harvard College, encouraged students to slow down. "You may balance your life better if you participate in some activities purely for fun, rather than to achieve a leadership role that you hope might be a distinctive credential for postgraduate employment," he wrote.
At Bowdoin College this year, everyone from the president, Barry Mills, to the dean of student affairs, Craig W. Bradley, to the director of counseling, Bob Vilas, has been talking about savoring education, taking the time to enjoy learning. The students are all for the joy of learning. In fact, many of them say that Bowdoin, a small elite college in Brunswick, Me., has been a happy intellectual awakening after the grim pursuit of grades and extracurriculars that was high school.
But as Karen Jacobson, a senior, pointed out, if she and her classmates had rebelled against the résumé-building path to college that had been laid out for them, they might not have gotten into Bowdoin at all.
At my alma mater, Impressive University, everyone was a perfectionist. Every activity, whether course or extracurricular, was potentially preprofessional. Undergraduates couldn't casually join a newspaper or just try auditioning for a play; the competition was too intense. (I should confess that I thrived in that environment, at least as an undergrad. The peer group in my major pushed me further than the faculty ever could have.)
When I TA'd, I found out just how much resistance students there had to getting their first B's, or, even worse, C's. They were not used to hearing criticism and often had trouble internalizing the message. It was generally difficult to help students who were in trouble. They'd go hide.
Granolan is selective, but not like Impressive was. Our students are wacky, or maybe even flaky. They all want to triple major (e.g., physics, creative writing, and internation relations). They don't know as much coming in, and there aren't as many of them who learn new material effortlessly. They are academically oriented, they're bright and they work hard, but they weren't perfect in hgh school and they don't expect to be in college.
I was shocked when I first got here by how much more fun it is to teach these students. They're ready to listen. They know that achieving understanding can take time and effort; they don't panic if they don't get something immediately, and they don't have to go sulk if they get something wrong. Socratic questioning during class or during office hours can go intereresting places, because the students are willing to throw whatever they're thinking into the discussion.