Pages

Friday, August 26, 2011

Overheard during freshman move-in day

Said by a freshman to her new roommate: "This is the greatest place in the world to be a brilliant and motivated young person...That's our room [pointing to a dorm window]. It's amazing. We're going to be sitting there in January, drinking coffee and watching snow fall in the Yard. Then we're going to change the world."

11 comments:

Paul Gowder said...

Oh god.

mike shupp said...

I love her madly, already.

hardlyb said...

That's very cute. I wonder if anyone that every changed the world actually said that - I sort of doubt it. Even when world changers come from such privileged backgrounds, it seems to me that they are so obnoxiously driven (e.g., Bill Gates) that they wouldn't think of things in those terms. And I never heard anyone that was really brilliant refer to themselves as such.

Andrew Stevens said...

Hardlyb, that's the sort of thing people say because they would like it to be true, not because it actually is. I'll bet Alexander the Great did indeed say he was going to change the world and then he went out and did it. I have no doubt that Julius Caesar said he was going to change the world and then proceeded to do just that. Bill Clinton seems like precisely the sort of man who would have said, as a freshman in college, "I'm going to change the world" and, while not as obvious as Alexander or Caesar, I'm pretty sure he did.

I find that brilliant people don't tend to be any more self-effacing than anyone else and I've never met a brilliant person who I ever thought was so unperceptive that he/she didn't know he/she was brilliant. Are there also an awful lot of people who will say they're brilliant and who aren't any such thing? Of course. But, no, I do not agree that if someone says, "I'm brilliant," it is therefore a 100% bet that they aren't. The world just doesn't work that way, even if we wish it did. Some of the most brilliant people in history were absolutely insufferable egotists (e.g. Richard Wagner, Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Cicero, etc.). This makes them men of questionable virtue, not men of questionable intellect.

arethusa said...

Andrew Stevens, I'm not so sure that Alexander and Caesar did anything other than say, "I want to be the most powerful man in the world." This is different from saying, "I'm going to change the world." Changing the world was a corollary to their desire for power.

(I can, however, totally see Bill Clinton saying it. But I'd bet many of his classmates did, too - and then they didn't. Odds are against these particular 18-year-olds - who also probably don't have anything as specific in mind as Alexander and Caesar did, and that's the problem.)

Miss Self-Important said...

Mike: I'm willing to bet she's single.

Arps said...

I am afraid that I am biased on this one. To me, it matters whether this statement was made at Chicago or Harvard (Miss Self-Important's Alma Mater).

Miss Self-Important said...

We know it can't have been made at Chicago b/c move-in day would not be until, oh, Thanksgiving. Whether anyone there would make it is a question of a secondary nature.

Elaine Bell said...

At least she didn't say, "Then we're going to, like, change the world."

Jeff said...

I find it telling that she didn't say she was going to improve the world.

sarah marie said...

Thank you for making me laugh and snort my tea. Such classic freshman behavior. Actually, it's true that in January (s)he'll be drinking coffee and watching the snow. The bit about the coffee being to self-medicate for a hangover just got left out, perhaps.

As for changing the world... I suppose everyone does, ever-so-slightly.