Tuesday, October 27, 2009

College Students Then.. And Now

I was reading primary sources for a class when I stumbled upon an interesting correspondence between a son who is attending Oxford and his father. 13th century.

"...This is to inform you that I am studying at Oxford with the greatest diligence, but the matter of money stands greatly in the way of my promotion (degree), as it is now two months since I spent the last of what you sent me. The city is expensive and makes many demands; I have to rent lodgings, buy necessaries, and provide for many other things which I cannot now specify. Wherefore I respectfully beg your paternity that by the promptings of divine pity you may assist me, so that I may be able to complete what I have well begun..."

"...'He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.' I have recently discovered that you live dissolutely and slothfully, preferring license to restraint and play to work and strumming a guitar while the others are at their studies, whence it happens that you have read but one volume of law while your more industrious companions have read several. Wherefore I have decided to exhort you herewith to repent utterly of your dissolute and careless ways, that you may no longer be called a waster and your shame may be turned to good repute.'
Most of us have been there, asking mom and dad for money, and if we weren't true to our studies, have had our pleas ignored. Not too much has changed. It was easier for this guy. He didn't have to go through college with all the present-day distractions that we deal with now.