A 52-year-old ex-Navy SEAL reflects on his first semester as a freshman at Yale

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/06/a-52-year-old-ex-navy-seal-ref.html


Thanks for posting this. I particularly liked this line:

We come from different worlds and yet we both read classic works with open hearts and minds.

This, and a safe space to discuss those works, is what academia is about.


And I particularly loved the closing:

If this place is peopled by “snowflakes” I’m proudly one of them. I’m a snowflake with a purple heart.


I was in the Army National Guard at the same time I was enrolled at The Evergreen State College. Neither institution can hold a candle to the places this guy is from, but I can grok the social disconnect quite easily.

It would be easy for me to sneer at his fresh discovery that young people are people after all, just like him! But to see the generation gap examined at all these days is all too rare.

It just the other day occurred to me that when I was young, I instinctively measured time starting from the moment of my birth. And at some point, I stopped being young, and began to recon time in terms of how much is left to me before I die.

When these two ways of marking time are kept seperate from each other, when young people only ever commune with other young people, when older people are kept out of the way of those still considered “viable” - a great harm is done to us. I was really bothered by the generation gap back when I was in college, and it bothers me even more today.


To me there is no dishonor in being wrong and learning. There is dishonor in willful ignorance and there is dishonor in disrespect.



Gee, spending time with people who have different view points than you might actually show you that they are different than the image in your head and you share a lot of common ground? Who would have thunk?


As a 47 year old on a bus back to the first day of my third semester of uni, I get a mostly similar kick out of this. I can’t really compare myself to him in most ways except age and gender BUT…

With other students, I have discovered that I am WAY more concerned about my age and middle-age norms than they are. For the most part, we all share a common goal: academic understanding.


Thank you for sharing this. It was an excellent read!


I love this piece, but seeing it come around again I’m struck some follow ups I would love to see. I’d love to see a look at how he came to his initial inaccurate assumptions and a better look at the social and intellectual challenges he ran into that weren’t what he expected.

Just a side note: I really came to this thread expecting to see it locked up with troll activity, but instead it’s the sound of crickets. I hope the people who really need to grok this are doing that.


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