Trial Balance: The Education of An American

By Alan Valentine | Go to book overview
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III
The Pursuit of Praise

THE boy of sixteen who entered Swarthmore College was no longer the insecure child of his first years at school. Though still self-centered, he had grown outwardly amenable and even gregarious. His final years at the Academy had been happy and successful, and he could laugh wholeheartedly at his childish pains, when he remembered them at all. He looked forward to college with confident enthusiasm. It would, others told him, bring him knowledge, friendships, and the prestige that then came with a college degree. It might, he hoped, also bring him what he craved--admiration.

Early in his freshman year he analyzed his chances for collegiate eminence with rather surprising realism, though with the lack of humor and perspective that accompanies the ardent pursuit of limited ends. He realized that he could not become outstanding in studies or activities if he took them as casually as most of his classmates. He observed that few of them were as ambitious as he, at least for immediate college goals. Since Angus did not look beyond those goals, he determined to work for them

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