So if you hear someone telling you that a liberal arts education is a luxury in which only the independently wealthy should indulge, I’ll agree . . . if you mean the kind of education that makes you think of your own brain as an exquisite platter of pâté, to be passed around at parties and admired for its velvety richness. Don’t get that kind of education, no matter how much money you have. The world needs exactly zero of that.
But if you mean the kind of education that gives you the unshakable idea that life is interesting, worth thinking about, worth talking about…
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Although she smiled warmly and spoke gently (and, if I remember rightly, barely cleared five feet in height!), I was somewhat abashed, not only by her chic southern elegance, but by the dark sunglasses she wore at all times. Dr. Louise suffered from a thyroid disorder which left her nearly blind, and after a series of surgeries, her eyeballs protruded and were discolored, and her face was scarred.
Another student went into her office after me. For several reasons, this girl was on the outs with the community in our small school, and she was difficult to live with. What private sufferings she endured, I don’t know, and never cared to consider at the time. The young woman said that Dr. Louise talked with her for a while, and then took her sunglasses off, exposing the part of her that she hid from most of the world. I don’t know if they talked about literature at all, or just about life, but the girl came out radiating peace. Dr. Louise did not, I believe, acknowledge such a thing as an “outsider.”
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