Opportunity's now

HOW we often long to find the right words of counsel to the young. On today's pressure-cooker campus, with its often humorless competition for grades, its perpetual framing of what students do now so they can prepare for the next cut that promises to separate the best from the rest -- the future can look like a narrowing set of options, a regressive telescoping of opportunity instead of a liberating advancement.

So it was good to note the remarks to students recently make by Guido Calabresi, newly appointed dean of Yale Law School:

``Some of you will make a pot of money, some of you will do good, and some of you will do both, but how you rank in this Law School is irrelevant to that. . . . You are lucky people, and this is a special time -- a period when you can just let yourselves go intellectually.''

That may sound easier said than done, when semester exams, sets of statistics problems, and term papers confront you, and the campus atmosphere itself appears awash in unconscious waves of Angst. But it is true, nonetheless. It is the spirit in which we approach our work, more than the task itself, which determines our success. We have to learn to enjoy what we have to do.

Some campuses have begun to acknowledge that they have become overserious, or, rather, joyless. They offer seminars on stress. Some are even trying to highlight a weekend a month for what was once the normal weekend spate of dances and music and fun. We're not sure whether so intellectual an attempt at relaxation should make one laugh or cry.

It's up to the individual youth ultimately to decide whether he's the victim of his education or its master, whether the joy of discovery must wait until after his education or will be the source of his energy through it.

How much we want to say: Enjoy the now of your opportunity. It is all the now you will ever have!

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