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Mulany, John V. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. V, No. 6 (March 1908)

McLenegan, Annie S.
The university and the decent average,   pp. 238- 242


Page 238


   THE UNIVERSITY AND THE DECENT
                      AVERAGE
                   Annie JS. McLenegan
Dear Uppergrads and Some Others:
  In your current discussion of the tendencies of student life in
our own university and others, it seems to be the complaint
of the idealistic observer, one complaint, at least, that our
students do not desire to get the right things out of their stu-
dent life, the things they ought to desire,-ij only they had
been born different. The writer of the Epistle to the Under-
grads in the December issue of this magazine seems to see
two kinds of students: the purely frivolous ones,-the "butter-
flies," and those who come to learn the way to do something,
-the "digs. " The old, old complaint is that the student butter-
fliesdo not dig enough, and that the digs have too little of the
butterfly about them. It is not my purpose to write to you
about the sins of the butterflies, for they have been exploited
enough; but following are a few words about the digs in your
midst, those contemptible digs, by one who has learned to
be their friend.
       I. THE PROBLEM OF BREAD AND BUTTER.
  Whatever may have been his motive in the fine old days
that are done and gone, it is the problem of his bread and
butter for this world that brings the average student of today
to your university. And from what conditions does your
average student come? He comes from an average home, a
middle-class home, decent, but unillumined with any intellec-
tuality or poetry, and generally without means to pay more
than the bare expense of a university course, in many cases,
none at all. We all know such young people. Skimping and
clever self-help have brought them here. Perhaps the young
       [238]


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