I can remember opening up the Freshman Handbook to that center spread with the map of the campus. All those buildings with strange new names. I just couldn't believe I'd ever be at home in that place. And then the thousands of faces when I arrived on campus. It was . . . well, just a mass of impressions. I suppose it took me almost a year to make sense of it all. I began to see that, though there were many small units all revolving almost within themselves, the whole thing added up. It is sort of like a clock with lots and lots of tiny pieces inside, but, when they all start moving in unison, the whole business begins to tick and tells time.
SHE WAS a junior; she was majoring in history and hoped some day that she might be teaching it in a college; and she was trying to tell us what had made the deepest impression on her thus far in her own college career. She had found it difficult to single out one course or one person or one experience. "I guess it's the whole thing," she told us. "I feel so sorry for those who don't sense what's going on around this place. They are in the middle of something but never a part of it. They see the wheels revolving but they don't hear the ticking."
In this chapter--the final one of those devoted to the six characteristics of excellence--we will attempt to discuss particular aspects of the whole. An all too common conception of a college education is that it includes only the narrowly defined academic process involving just the teacher and the student. Many college graduates agree, however, that their education took place as much outside the classroom as within its narrow walls, and was as much a result of all that surrounded them as of the formal lecture or seminar. Some refer to this larger, encompassing classroom as "the climate of the campus." We call it the environment.