In reading the July 12 issue of PAW back to front, I first encountered a truly emotional and inspiring image of the aircraft carrier Princeton launching into action (That Was Then). It perhaps carried some of the brave Princetonians who helped win the titanic struggle of World War II.
Then I found Provost Deborah Prentice’s interview (On the Campus), wherein she discusses eliminating the University policy to stop grade inflation. I understand that having such a policy while every other college in America has a pro-grade inflation policy put Princeton students at a disadvantage when applying for graduate-school positions. However, to attribute the recision of the policy to reducing stress is to conflate hard work and the satisfaction of demonstrating true mastery of a subject with real stress like those young men faced when heading into the Pacific theater in 1945.
This indulgence of avoiding stress may be the worst legacy that we are transmitting to the next generation. It underlies all of the tumult that has occurred on campuses around the country and may play a role in the uneasiness about the future that is commonly heard.
I think we are greatly underestimating the capacity of our students and indulging our own need to be liked by making stress reduction a new goal of an education.