Regarding “What’s College For?” (Conversation, Nov. 12): Thank you, William Deresiewicz, for asking key questions.
The native talents of Princetonians extend far beyond finance, law, and academia. Because Princetonians have little or no debt on graduation, we are America’s most privileged college graduates. We can refuse fear, reject institutional definitions of success, and exercise our free will to develop unique, authentic lives. The many Princetonians who are renaissance men and women should not feel bound to squash their manifold talents into the narrow confines of a career.
In my 62 years I have served as composer, educator, performer, gardener, entrepreneur, parent, creativity counselor, fiber artist, author, administrator, healer, wife, parent, friend. I seek neither honors nor fame but to develop courage, wisdom, patience, friendship, and loyalty. I have a rich life rooted in my own personality, not a “career,” and no interest in retiring because I enjoy every day.
Further key questions might include:
How can I use my privileged education to serve the planet? How can I advance truth, beauty, and justice? How shall we carefully use our planet’s natural resources? How can urban elites better understand rural economy as the foundation of all economy? Urgent science questions include: How can we refreeze our planet’s methane hydrates (which threaten to create more potent global warming than CO2)? Could we harvest frozen methane hydrates for cooking and heating fuel? Is the technique of incorporating biochar into soils (if widely used) a solution to global warming that could reverse ocean acidification?