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Page 173 text:
not allow moi ' e freedom as to unexcused absences. The students do not ask this from any desire to find a way to absent themselves from recitations ; but there are often times w hen a student honestly feels that the period of a recitation could be better devoted to some other work. As college men we are supposed to have minds of our own, and work not necessarily included in the schedule. VVe know that any independence given in this line would not be abused, and we think the Faculty ought to place more reliance on the judgment of the students in regard to this matter. A MATTER that should receive early attention is that of a battalion encampment. Last year considerable progress in this direction was made ; a petition was circulated among the students setting forth their desire for a week in camp, and asking that the Trustees take the necessary steps to secure legislative appropriations for this pui-pose. This petition was sup- ported by those in authority at college, and, so we understand, by the com- mittee of the Trustees into whose hands it was placed. Unfortunately, before a bill could be prepared the time for taking up new business in the Legislature had passed, and it was thought advisable to let the matter rest tmtil the following year. The advantages to be derived from an encampment are evident. Lieu- tenant Colonel Hughes, at the annual inspection last year, after compliment- ing the work of the battalion, remarked to the effect that more military training could be obtained in a week ' s routine in camp, than in a year of drill such as is obtained in schools and colleges. The Government insists upon military instruction at institutions under its control, that, in time of need, it may know where to look for men able to organize and to command. For the perfection of this ability and for the advancement of the service, the Government sees fit to place the State militia in camp one week each year. In studying Military we are working on the same line and for the saine purpose as do the militia, and only b} some such encampment, as they have, can we hope to become familiar with the practical side of a soldier ' s life. At the beginning of the present college year it was suggested by a member of the Faculty that the fall term next year should commence two i6i
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It is this denying the students the privilege of choosing for themselves the studies that they are to pursue that, more than all other reasons, causes men to become dissatisfied, and to leave college. That Senior electives have proved successful cannot be doubted by any one who has noticed the increased interest that the Seniors take in the special branches which they have selected. To bring the College completel} out of its state of depres- sion and make it a success in the future, electives are needed, not merely during the last two years of the course, but during every year except the first. We understand that some of the Faculty are in favor of the latter plan, and that nearly all favor the former. With a two-year course, which takes all who care only for a practical knowledge of agricultui e, it is certainly unnecessary to confine the regular students to one general course longer than the first year. At all events, we hope that the Board of Trus- tees will not be so forgetful of the future welfare and success of the Col- lege as to refuse electives to the Junior class next year. In 1S93 the first class of the Two-year Course entered college. What to do with it was then a puzzle which has not yet been satisfactorily solved. AVe do not condemn the course of study given, but we believe that, in gen- eral, the class of students it has attracted would be wholly condemned by ,the student body if there were not a few good men in each class. That there are men of merit in this course we admit ; yet the influence of the course as a whole has I ' esulted in bringing down the standard of the College. Considering that one third of the students here are men of this course, and that nearly all the support of the College associations rests with the remain- ing two thirds, — considering that the falling off in numbers of the regular students was almost identical with the founding of this course, and was, in part, caused by it, it may well be asked. Is not the Two-year Course a drawback and hindrance to the welfare of the College? The course of study itself is above repi oach, for it is one that has been long needed to fur- nish farmers ' sons with a cheap, practical education ; but we believe that for the good of the regular course, the Two-year course should have no connection whatever with the Massachusetts Agricultural College. We feel sure an improvement might be made in the system of cuts now in use. There are but few institutions of our size and standing that do 160
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weeks later. This suggestion seems to us to be a good one. At present the 3 ear begins much earlier here than at other colleges, and with only the advantage of enabling the football team to go into training so much sooner. During the warm, muggy weather which frecjuently prevails here in the first part of September, very little studying can be done, or even entered upon. This fact was especially noticeable this year; there was a general feeling of restlessness among the students, and little actual work of any value was accomplished before the ist of October. There is an old saying, " Well begun is half done, " which might well be applied to our studies, as it is evident that a term ' s work begun in an earnest, interested manner, will produce greater and more valuable results than if it is begun carelessly and half-heartedly. If the opening of the fall term were put off two weeks, the weather at the end of that time would be much more favoi-able to the recommencing of studies ; and while the number of hours devoted to recita- tions would be smaller, the amount of ground covered would not neces- sai-ily be lessened. There is no doubt that the students would appreciate the extension of the summer vacation. To many it would mean a better opportunity for working out their expenses, and we believe that all would come back in better condition to take up the work of another year. In conclusion we will not give, as have our predecessors, words of ad- vice to the new Index Board, for probably they would not be taken. Each Board of Editors has to " work out its salvation for itself, " and by its own efforts gain the knowledge and ability necessary to publish its volume of the Annual. Such has been our experience. For the benefit of the new board, however, we would suggest that hereafter the various associations and clubs which have full-page half tones in the Index shall bear the ex- pense of making their respective plates. This will result in making the book more of a college publication, as it ought to be, besides aiding the small classes of the next two years in meeting the necessarily large expense of getting out a good book. Laying aside all class feeling, we believe that every true college man should be anxious for the success of the Index, and we wish to do all in our power to aid the new board in the work which it has already entered upon. 162
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