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Smart, John W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 27, No. 3 (December 1922)

Editorials,   pp. 44-45


Page 44


The WISCONSIN ENGINEER
TRAINED OR         Elsexhere in this isu an artcle              1       
   L     1 I  I
endeavor seem more alluring. We fain would be a
politician, a middleman, or a movie star. We hone for
the applaudits of the public and the emoluments of
worldly success. When such doubts assail, it is a tonic
to have someone compare the work of a lowly man of
science, like Dalton, the Quaker school teacher, and
that of a king, like Joseph of Spain. The story is
well told in the General Electric advertisement in this
issue. It is a "broadening" little story that will buck
you up, old top.
   "Even a young man can rapidly acquire what may
 be termed second-hand experience, and can make it al-
 most as readily available for his purpose as first-hand
 or personal experience. To do so, he must read sys-
 temnatically and continuously, and he must winnow out
 and make readily available the printed facts that will
 probably be of greatest use to him."-H. P. Gillette.
 HOLIDAY             We venture to suggest to the
 THOUGHTS          members of our faculty that a va-
 cation can be completely ruined by the specter of a
 tough assignment to be prepared for the first day after
 vacation. Have a heart this year, and consult the cal-
 endar before you dish out the work for that first cold
 morning in January.
                     *    *    *
   One of the advertisements in this issue makes a
point that strikes a responsive chord in our souls. The
glee club man is urged to warble for the old folks at
home, the football man to put up a few high ones for
kid brother, and the snakes to wrestle a round with the
sister. The engineer, we suppose, might recite the table
of logs for mother, and show dad how the slide rule
works. But, jokes aside, there is an idea in the sugges-
tion that is worth mulling over a bit between now and
a week from now. Some years ago, John McCutcheon
drew a cartoon of the college boy at home during the
Christmas vacation. When the young fellow wasn't
dashing off to keep some date, he was pounding the
pillow; Pa and Ma didn't get anything but a glimpse of
him. Someway that doesn't seem just right.
                     *    *    *
  While you are home, see that your college doesn't
suffer in the esteem of your friends and neighbors. Of
course you will want to give the natives an earful and
make them sit up, but don't give the university a black
eye in the process.
  Special knowledge, no matter how extensive, is of
very little value unless intelligently directed and ap-
plied.-Charles P. Steinmetz.
  TRAINED OR          Elsewhere in this issue an article
  EDUCATED            raises the question of whether the
  engineering student is trained or educated, of whether
  he is in a position to do only what he is told, when he
  is told, and how he is told, or whether he is able to
  direct others.
  The question immediately comes to one's mind: Is
  there a deficiency in our educational system that allows
  such a question to arise? Or does the question arise
  because the students do not properly use the educa-
  tional advantages set before them? Or is the question
  entirely unjust and out of place?
  We do not believe that the question is out of place,
  for there are cases which we believe show that the en-
  gineering graduate is often trained, or believes himself
  to be trained, to do what he is told when he is told, and
  is not placed in a position where he can do the most
  good for his fellows or for himself. We do not be-
  lieve that the present day professors and instructors are
  in themselves responsible, but that the condition, where
  it does exist, is the result of a popular though ignorant
  demand for extreme specialization.  We believe that
  the student often becomes so lost in his specialty that
  he loses track of events and believes that his type of
  work is all important, or that he suddenly awakes to
  the presence of other fields but believes himself so far
  behind that he cannot catch up and gives up in
  despair.
  You may not agree with us, or with the article, and
  it is entirely possible that you are right and we wrong.
  But the matter deserves your thought and attention, for
  if the engineer is only directed and does not direct,
  there is something very wrong with engineering and
  engineers.
  "Muich of that which passes for success is a miser-
able failure, bccanse no man is a success who has de-
bauiched himself in the process; who has lost the best
part of himself on the way to fortune; who has dropped
his nianliood; who has swapped his integrity for dol-
lwrs or soinc other material advantage.  There is a
tremendous difference between being a success as a
dollar chaser and a success as a man."
A SENSE OF          Sometimes    the  strongest  faith
VALUES              wavers. We have chosen the en-
gineering profession as a life work because it appealed
to us as a useful and satisfying occupation. But when
the gloomy momnents come, doubt creeps in and we
wonder whether we have made a wise choice. We see
ahead of us a long vista of hard work with little to be
won0 but the satisfaction of well doing. Other fields of
44
Volume 27, No. 3


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