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A Girl's Student Days and After

A Girl's Student Days and After
Category: Young women / Students
Title: A Girl's Student Days and After
Release Date: 2006-04-23
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 25 March 2019
Count views: 21
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A Girl's Student Days and After




With an Introduction by
President of Mt. Holyoke College
New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh

Copyright, 1911, by
New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 125 North Wabash Ave.
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street




[Pg 7]


The school and college girl is an important factor in our life to-day.Around her revolve all manner of educational schemes, to her are openall kinds of educational opportunities. There was never an age in whichso much thought was expended upon her, or so much interest felt in herdevelopment.

There are many articles written and many speeches delivered on theresponsibility of parents and teachers—it may not be amiss occasionallyto turn the shield and show that some of the responsibility rests uponthe girl herself. After all, she is the determining factor, forbuildings and equipment, courses and teachers accomplish little withouther coöperation.

It is difficult for the "new girl," whether in school or college, to[Pg 8]realize the extent to which the success of her school life depends uponherself. In a new environment, surrounded by what seem to her"multitudes" of new faces, obliged to meet larger demands under strangeand untried conditions, she is quite likely to go to the other extremeand exaggerate her own insignificance. Sometimes she is fortunate enoughto have an older sister or friend to help her steer her bark throughthese untried waters, but generally she must find her own bearings.

To such a girl, the wise hints in the chapters which follow thisintroduction are invaluable, giving an insight into the meaning offair-play in the classroom as well as on the athletic field; therelation between physical well-being and academic success; thedifference between the social life that is re-creative and that whichis "nerves-creative"; the significance of loyalty to the school and tothe home; the way in which school days determine to a large degree thedays that come after. These, and many other suggestions, wise and[Pg 9]forceful, I commend not only to the new girl, but also to the "oldgirl" who would make her school and college days count for more bothwhile they last and as preparation for the work that is to follow.

Mary E. Woolley.
Mt. Holyoke College,
South Hadley, Massachusetts.

[Pg 11]


A Word to the Wise13
I. The Ideal Freshman17
II. The Girl and the School25
III. Friendships33
IV. The Student's Room41
V. The Tools of Study and Their Use54
VI. The Joy of Work61
VII. Fair-Play70
VIII. The Right Sort of Leisure78
IX. The Outdoor Runway88
X. A Girl's Summer99
XI. From the School to the Girl107
XII. The Work to Be115

[Pg 13]

A Word to the Wise

We train for basket-ball, golf, tennis or for whatever sport we have themost liking. Is there any reason why we should not use the sameintelligence in the approach to our general school life? Is there anyreason why we should make an obstacle race, however good and amusingexercise that may be, out of all our school life? We don't expect towin a game with a sprained wrist or ankle, and there really is no reasonwhy we should plan to sprain the back of school or college life byavoidable mistakes.

The writer believes in the girl who has the capacity for makingmistakes,—that headlong, energetic spirit which blunders all tooeasily. But the writer knows how much those mistakes hurt and how muchenergy might be saved for a life that, with just a pinch less ofblunder, might be none the less savoury. School and college are no placefor[Pg 14] vocal soloists, and after some of us have sung so sweetly and solong at home, with every one saying, "Just hear Mary sing, isn't itwonderful!" it is rather trying, you know, to go to a place where vocalsolos are not popular. And we wish some one—at least I did—had told usall about this fact as well as other facts of school life. Anyway itshould be a comfort to have a book lying on the table in our school orcollege room, or at home, which will tell us why Mary, after having beena famous soloist at home made a failure or a great success in choruswork at school. Such a book is something like having a loaded gun inreadiness for the robber. We may never use the shotgun or the book butthey are there, with the reassuring sense of shot in the locker.

It is something, is it not, to have a little book which will tell youhow to get into school and how to get out (for at times there seem to bedifficulties in both these directions)—in short, to tell you somethingof[Pg 15] many things: your first year at school or college, your part in theschool life, the friendships you will make, your study and how to workin it, the pleasure and right kind of spirit involved in work, the quiettimes, as well as the jolly times, out-of-doors, your summers and how tospend them, what the school has tried to do for you; and, as you go outinto the world, some of the aspects, whether you are to be wife,secretary or teacher, of the work which you will do. Of one thing youmay be certain; that behind every sentence of this little book isexperience, that here are only those opinions of which experience hasmade a good, wholesome zwieback.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank my friend, Mrs. Belle KelloggTowne, editor of The Girls' Companion and Young People's Weekly,Chicago, for her coöperation in allowing me to use half the material inthis little book; also Dr. C. R. Blackall, of Philadelphia.

Camp Runway. J. M.

[Pg 17]



Freshman year, the beginning year, the year of new experiences, newdelights, new work, new friends, new surroundings; the year that maymean much to a girl, that may answer some of the questions that havelain long in heart and mind, that will surely reveal her more clearly toherself, that may make her understand others better and help her toguess something of the riddle of the years to come!

What has the student done to get ready for this year? If she were goingcamping she would know that certain things were necessary to make theexpedition a success. With what excitement and pleasure, what thoughtsof jolly camp-fires, deep, sweet-smelling forests, and long days afoot,she would prepare everything. She would not let any one else do this forher, for that would mean[Pg 18] losing too much of the fun. But the freshmanyear, what about the thinking and planning for that, also an expeditioninto a new world, and a veritable adventure of a vast deal moreimportance than a few days or weeks of camping? Would she enter forestsupon whose trees the camp-fires throw many shadows, follow the streamthat cleaves its way through the woods, go along the runway of deer orcaribou or moose, with a mind to all intents and purposes a blank? No,her mind would be vivid with thoughts and interests.

With the same keen attention should she enter the new year at school orcollege, and as she passes through it, thinking about all that comes toher, she will find it growing less and less difficult and more and morefriendly. She will consider what the freshman year is to be like, thinkof what sorts of girls she is to meet and make friends with, what thework will be, what she may expect in good times from this new adventure,and,[Pg 19] thoughtful about it all, make the minimum of mistakes and get themaximum of benefit.

Here come some of the girls who are entering school and college withher—bright-haired, dark-haired, rosy or pale, tall and thin, fat andshort, clever and average, desirable and undesirable,—in fact, allsorts and conditions of girls. Who is to be the leader of them all? Sheis the ideal freshman, a nice, well-set-up girl who does not think toomuch of herself, who is not self-conscious, and who does not forget forwhat she is sent to school. Despite the temptations of school life sheuses her days wisely and well. She does not isolate herself, for shesees the plan and value of the recreative side of school-days. She isalready laying the foundations for a successful, useful, normalexistence, establishing confidence at the outset and not handicappingherself through her whole course by making people lose their faith inher. Our ideal freshman may be the girl who is to do distinguishedwork; she may be the student[Pg 20] who does her best; and because it is herbest, the work, though not brilliant, is distinguished by virtue of hereffort. She may be the girl who is to make a happy home life through herpoise and earnestness and common sense. Whoever she is, in any event inlearning to do her best she is winning nine-tenths of the battle of asuccessful career. It is she, attractive, able, earnest, with the"fair-play" or team-play spirit in all she does, true to herself and toothers, whom every school wants, whose unconscious influence is so greatin building up the morale of any school. Mark this girl and follow her,for she is worthy of your hero worship.

This is the girl who goes into school in much the same spirit that shewould enter upon a larger life. She is not a prig and she is not a dig,but she knows there are responsibilities to be met and she meets them.She expects to have to think about the new conditions in which she findsherself and to adjust herself to them, and she does it. She[Pg 21] knows themeaning of the team-play spirit and she takes her place quietly on theteam, one among many, and both works and plays with respect for therights and positions of others. It is in the temper of the wordssometimes stamped upon the coins of our country—E Pluribus Unum—thatshe makes a success of her school life. She knows that not only is ourcountry bigger than any one of its states, but also that every school isbigger than any one of its members whether teacher or student. In asmall family at home conditions have been more or less made for her,just as they are for other girls. Yet she knows that the school life iscomplicated and complex, and it is impossible for her to feel neglectedwhere a more self-centred or spoiled girl fails to see that in this newlife she is called upon to play a minor part but nevertheless a partupon which the school must rely for its esprit de corps. She goes withease from the somewhat unmethodical life of the home to the highlyorganized routine[Pg 22] of the school because she understands the meaning ofthe word "team-play." She has the coöperative spirit.

Yet there are other girls, too, in this school which the freshman isentering. There is the student who errs on the side of leading tooworkaday a life, and in so doing has lost something of the buoyancy andbreadth and "snap" which would make her associations and her workfresher and more vigorous. "The Grind," she has been called, and if sherecognize herself in this sketch, let her take care to reach out for abigger and fuller life than she is leading. And there is, too, theselfish student whose "class-spirit" is self-spirit; and the girl who isnot selfish but who uses herself up in too many interests, dramatic,athletic, society, philanthropic and in a dozen others. She is probablyover-conscientious, a good girl in every way, but in doing too much sheloses sight of the real aim of

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