Non Sibi: Higher Education

At All-School Meeting, Mrs. Chase discussed her concern about the view that PA students are more about sibi than non sibi, and more occupied with padding their resume than with benefiting their community. Of course, Mrs. Chase rejected this notion, pointing out the fine examples of many PA alumni who have dedicated their careers to the non sibi spirit. Though optimism is commendable, this may be out of touch. PA students are inundated in competition. Success, which to many is Ivy League acceptance, is the primary goal for most, even if they won’t admit it. David Brooks, in his seminal April 2001 Atlantic Monthly essay on “The Organization Kid,” provides a fitting tag for PA students. He focused on Princeton students who do everything methodically, diligently and intelligently, but toward their career goals, rather than for higher, moral causes. For some students here at PA, a successful career is simply the next narrow goal after college admission. Is it worth it? In this week’s New York Review of Books, Andrew Delbanco discusses the “Scandals of Higher Education,” and paraphrases a book by the interim president of Harvard, Derek Bok, as “[painting] a picture of colleges that, if not dysfunctional, are operating far below capacity.” No longer a rumor, this suggests that even the single-minded goal of Harvard admission may not be worth the sacrifices in academic curiosity and selfless living that seem to be required to get in. Success does not lie solely in the Ivy League; success is also understanding the value of selflessness. This week, from exuberant Seniors to timid Class of 2011 visitors, we should take a moment to consider our priorities and values, which should never be sacrificed for the sake of Ivy League acceptance. Non sibi is more important. These editorials represent the views of The Phillipian editorial board.