An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant

By M. E. Ravage; Steven G. Kellman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
Off to College

But to college I went that autumn, all the same. The examinations were no sooner over than I gave up my tutoring and my school and began to cast about for something real to do. I had entered the high school to attain a particular object. It had been defeated; but I had got something else in its stead. I had improved my English; I had acquired new and more regular methods of study; I had completed my entrance requirements, so that I need not worry now about working off “conditions” in college. Still, there was no sense in keeping up the grind, even though the authorities sent postal card after postal card to Mrs. Schlesinger, threatening me with the visitations of the truant officer. They were snail-slow in that city institution. The course was, to all intents and purposes, finished; but they were taking the entire month from the end of May to the last of June to review and “wind up.” I could do better with those four weeks. Time was precious. If I got busy straight away, that very month might decide whether I should graduate in 1910 or 1911.

In a financial sense I was no better off now than a year ago—rather worse, if anything. I had not only fallen behind by a year, so that if I entered college at all I would be a freshman when Goodman and a lot of others of my companions would be sophomores; I had missed the chance of laying up some money toward the lean years that were ahead of me. The failure to earn the State scholarship I had come to take philosophically. It merely prevented me from going to Cornell—the university I had set my heart on. But that prize would, after all, have paid only my tuition; my living expenses I must earn in any event. At one of the free out-of-town colleges, to be sure, it might prove harder to find work. But hadn’t I tried this past year to combine study with business in New York? And with what results? Besides, college was not high school. By all accounts a medical student had practically no time left when his day in the lecture-room and the laboratory was over. In a small town there would at least be no wastage in traveling back and forth.

-126-

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An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chronology ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • A Note on the Text xxxiii
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Part One - The Alien at Home 11
  • Chapter I - The Prophet from America 13
  • Chapter II - The Gospel of New York 20
  • Chapter III - The Exodus 27
  • Chapter IV - To America on Foot 31
  • Chapter V - Farewell Forever 38
  • Part Two - The Alien Abroad 45
  • Chapter VI - First Impressions 47
  • Chapter VII - The Immigrant’s America 53
  • Chapter VIII - "How Do You like America?" 58
  • Chapter IX - Ventures and Adventures 66
  • Chapter X - Purifications 78
  • Chapter XI - The Ethics of the Bar 86
  • Part Three - The Education of an American 93
  • Chapter XII - Shirts and Philosophy 95
  • Chapter XIII - The Soul of the Ghetto 104
  • Chapter XIV - The Tragedy of Readjustment 110
  • Chapter XV - The Trials of Scholarship 118
  • Chapter XVI - Off to College 126
  • Part Four - America of the Americans 133
  • Chapter XVII - In the Mold 135
  • Chapter XVIII - The American as He Is 143
  • Chapter XIX - The Fruits of Solitude 151
  • Chapter XX - Harvey 159
  • Chapter XXI - The Romance of Readjustment 168
  • Part Five - Postscript- Twenty Years Later 175
  • Chapter XXII - Jeanne’s Sentimental Pilgrimage 177
  • Chapter XXIII - And My Own 189
  • About the Editor 213
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