This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Edmundson Essay

6575 words - 27 pages

March 14, 2008
Dwelling in Possibilities

By Mark Edmundson

Our students' spectacular hunger for life makes them radically vulnerable.

At the beginning of school last fall, I ran into a student on the University of Virginia Lawn, not far from the famous statue of Homer instructing an admiring pupil. Homer's student is in a toga. Mine was wearing wraparound sunglasses like Bono's, black jeans, and a red T-shirt emblazoned with Chinese characters in white. Over his shoulder he carried his laptop.

We asked each other the usual question: What did you do over the summer? What he did, as I recall, was a brief internship at a well-regarded Internet publication, a six-country swing ...view middle of the document...

They want to study, travel, make friends, make more friends, read everything (superfast), take in all the movies, listen to every hot band, keep up with everyone they've ever known. And there's something else, too, that distinguishes them: They live to multiply possibilities. They're enemies of closure. For as much as they want to do and actually manage to do, they always strive to keep their options open, never to shut possibilities down before they have to.

This hunger for life has a number of consequences, for now and for the future. It's part of what makes this student generation appealing, highly promising — and also radically vulnerable. These students may go on to do great and good things, but they also present dangers to themselves and to the common future. They seem almost to have been created, as the poet says, "half to rise and half to fall." As a teacher of theirs (and fellow citizen), I'm more than a little concerned about which it's going to be.

Internet technology was on hand for my current students from about the time they were eight years old; it was in 1995 that the Netscape browser made the Internet accessible to everyone. And the Internet seems to me to have shaped their generation as much as the multichannel TV, with that critical device, the remote control, shaped the students who registered for my classes a decade ago. What is the Internet to current students?

Consider first what it is not. A friend of mine, who has assiduously kept a journal for 40 years, calls the journal, which now runs to about 40 volumes, a "life thickener." His quotations and pictures and clips and drawings and paintings give density and meaning to the blind onrush that life can be. He looks back through the volumes and sees that there was a life and that to him it meant something. To my students, I suspect, my friend would look like a medieval monk, laboring over his manuscripts, someone with a radically pre-postmodern feel for time, someone who did not, in fact, understand what time actually is.

An Internet-linked laptop, one may safely say, is not a life thickener. At the fingertips of my students, the laptop is a multiplier of the possible. "I dwell in possibility," says Emily Dickinson, "a fairer house than prose." Well, my students want to dwell there with her and, it seems, to leave me in the weed-grown bungalow, prose.

My university recently passed an edict: No one, damn it (insofar as edicts can say damn it), is going to triple major. Everyone now who is worth his tuition money double majors: The students in my classes are engineering/English; politics/English; chemistry/English. An urban legend in my leaf-fringed 'hood is that someone got around this inane dictum about triple majors by majoring in four subjects — there was, it seems, no rule against that. The top students at my university, the ones who set the standard for the rest, even if they drive the rest a little crazy, want to take eight classes a term, major...

Other Papers Like Edmundson

Regretful Decisions Essay

930 words - 4 pages Regretful Decisions There are many individuals in a child’s life that helps mold them into a well-rounded adult. In most cases, this guidance comes from the child’s parents or other older, but in Sonny’s case, this guidance was expected from his older brother. In the short narrative, Sonny’s Blues, Sonny’s life was adversely affected by the decisions that his older brother made. The decisions that his brother made include leaving Sonny to stay

Jail Responsibilities Essay

589 words - 3 pages Jail Responsibilities Monique Priorello September 23, 2012 One of the main responsibilities of a jail is to give the officers the correct “Police Correspondence” courses. This is because these courses give the officers the effective basic training that they need to do things such as; Writing of Memoranda, Police Reports, and Civilian Letters. What needs to be done first is make sure that there are NO errors. This means in


638 words - 3 pages Starbucks Nefertiti Wright Sangita Patel October 15, 2012 STARBUCKS 2 STARBUCKS - 1 - [no notes on this page]I. Job description a. Baristas II. Job specifications a. Duties III. Form of departmentalization STARBUCKS 3 Starbucks Starbucks have been named in the 100 best companies to work for. Starbucks has many job opportunities for people, which require the right job specifications. The employees create uplifting experience

Fight Club

917 words - 4 pages Fight Club is a story of the narrator’s struggle to gain control over his life. He is in search for an identity in the form of manhood. His masculinity is so repressed because of the absence of a father figure in his life. Because of this he creates Tyler, his alternate personality. Tyler is nothing like anyone the narrator has met, he is self assured and completely free. The narrators alternate personality Tyler Durden is the ultimate alpha-male

The Powers Of The Health And Safety Representative

254 words - 2 pages The Powers of the Health and Safety Representative A health and safety representative has the power to: Identify Workplace Hazards The health and safety representative has the power to identify workplace hazards. This power is usually exercised by conducting workplace inspections. Obtain Information from the Employer The health and safety representative is entitled to the same information available to a joint committee member. Under the Act

Lesson Plan

6476 words - 26 pages QWERTYUIOP by Vivien Alcock Table of Contents Introduction About Short Stories The Writer Synopsis Elements Activities Beyond The Text Assessment Answer Key Glossary Panel of Writers [pic] SHORT STORY Welcome to the World of Literature and to Short Stories! We hope you will enjoy working with this guidebook, which has been specially designed to help you prepare your students enjoy the Literature


1227 words - 5 pages Coca-Cola Global Business and Marketing Strategy Introduction As domestic markets mature, it is becoming more and more fashionable for organisations to seek growth through opportunities in foreign countries. Faster communication, new technologies and improved transport links are making international markets more accessible and businesses pursuing a global position can experience an upsurge in brand awareness and cost effectiveness. Global

Facing Poverty With A Rich Girl's Habit

783 words - 4 pages Facing poverty with a rich girl’s habit Adele Strader Professor Chryst English Composition October 22, 2012 Facing poverty with a rich girl’s habit was written by Suki Kim and published in the New York Times on November 21, 2004. The most important point that Suki want to make was that (1) what we have in life can be taken away in an instant (2) do not go bankrupt in South Korea (3) that a person must adapt and endure

3-4-50 Paper

572 words - 3 pages -4-50 paperLack of exercise is a key contributor to disease and death among many people in the United States, regardless of age. It is a well-known fact that exercise results in a healthier lifestyle. Along with tobacco use and poor nutrition, lack of exercise is one of the main issues that people have which leads to high blood pressure, obesity, and other serious health problems. According to a study by UCSD School of Medicine and SDSU


836 words - 4 pages Miguel Beatrice Capitalism is an economic system in which private individuals and business firms carry out production and exchange of goods and services through complex transactions involved in prices and markets. By extension called capitalist higher social class of this economic system ("bourgeoisie"), or to the common form would the individual interests of capital owners in both companies, shareholders and patterns, also called capitalism


1177 words - 5 pages Homelessness in America Homelessness in America is a social problem that we are faced with on a daily basis. Despite the vast number of research done by Americans on homelessness, little is still known about the effect that it has on our society. The overall image that emerges from the effects of homeless people

Related Essays

Slap Essay

1565 words - 7 pages dependent upon the individual (Edmundson, 2015). I will use daily task list to improve my self-management and time-management skills. I hope that everyone whom I come across to include seniors, peers, and subordinates notice these changes. I believe that if I am successful with the use of strategies to improve self-leadership, I will be an effective leader. References Catlette, B., Hadden, R. & Kimbell, M. (2010

Lafarge S.A Essay

2924 words - 12 pages NAME: IHEKANANDU KINGSLEY N. COURSE: MGMT 292 / F12 N01 TITLE: INDIVIDUAL CASE STUDY (LAFARGE S.A.) SUBMITTED: October 5, 2012 TABLE OF CONTENTS 2. INTRODUCTION 3 3. DESCRIPTION OF CASE 4 4. VALUES 4 4.1. Types of values 4 5. TEAMWORK 7 6. MOTIVATION 8 7. CREATIVITY 9 7.1. Components of creativity 9 8. CONCLUSION 12 9. BIBLIOGRAPHY 13 INTRODUCTION This report aims to provide an in-depth analysis of initiatives pursued by Lafarge as

Finance Essay

665 words - 3 pages Financial statements are the most common tool used for making business decisions. They consist of the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows. The analysis tools used affect all aspects of a company not just a few. A systematic review of the resources a company used to achieve its mission is cost control. Cash flow should be kept at necessary levels for operations is one of the major benefits of cost control. It is a very

Analysis Of Operation Blue Star And Its Effects On The Gandhi Dynasty

934 words - 4 pages The period of time including and following Operation Blue star is considered a dark time in India and black spot in Indian history. It is a time Indian would rather forget, yet still to this day debate about. Was Indihar Gandhi correct in instating operation Blue Star, inflicting damage to the Golden temple, and being responsible for the killing of anywhere from 492 (official reports) to 1500 (estimates run as high as) civilians, which lead to an