Well, summer is over and it is back-to-school time again here in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’m sure you’ve noticed the many Freshmen and their parents bustling around Wal-Mart looking for just the right laundry hamper or organizer for that new dorm room. It seems many years ago that I (now a second year graduate student at UT) went through that same process. Unbelievably, my little sister is one of these new Freshmen at a school in south Georgia, which only makes me feel older. But, what strikes me about this particular class of freshmen is not the fact that they look like they should be in ninth grade. Freshman always look young to older college students, just as ninth graders look young to high school seniors.
This particular class of entering Freshman is said to be the most intelligent class to ever enter the University of Tennessee. Yet, I watched as many new students made the same old mistakes that students had been making for generations: Late to class on the first day, not being able to find their classrooms, never understanding the bus system, or being dumb enough to get drunk the day before school starts.
All this made me think of how my older brother used to make compare us as children. According to him, I got the “book smarts” and he got the “common sense”. As much as I hate to admit it, he was sort of right. I wonder if this is what we should expect to see from the rest of the new “smarter” generation. Do the high scores they make on their ACT or SAT really earn them the right to be thought so brilliant? Let’s look two definitions that the Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia gives for intelligence . . .
(2): the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson