members notoriously easy in their subject matter, their grading, or both. I gathered that some students, including majors in home economics, journalism, and education, gave grounds for a suspicion that this was their mode of operation. I was required to attend lectures by the professors in each of the courses. These lectures usually lasted 50 minutes each and were given three times a week, either on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Because everything is very complicated at the University of Texas, where there are tens of thousands of students, one could not hope that his lectures might come, say, from 8 a.m. through 3 p.m. on just three days of the week, with an hour out for lunch; not at all. Rather, every morning and most afternoons were broken up by the classes. One did not have his day, or much of it; most assuredly he did not have peaceful stretches of more than a few hours within it. If one has just one 50minute class at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, one must dress, make his way from his boarding house or wherever he lives onto the campus and into the classroom, and after class manuever past, or fail to manuever past, his acquaintances there. A 10 o’clock class usually meant, for me, that the morning was shot, except perhaps for a hasty hour in the library before lunch, provided we didn’t adjourn for coffee, politics, or personality competitions after class. Compound these fractured days with the ceaselessly recurrent pressures to memorize the squibs of learning one gathered in between quizzes, and you see the shattered picture: running back and forth to classes, hopping into the library at odd hours, grabbing a few pages of the books late at night when I was tired 14 The Texas Observer SAM HOUSTON’S TEXAS Photographs and text by SUE FLANAGAN Autographed copies at same price “Sue Flanagan . . . read every available word by and about Houston, and she followed the trail of every trip he made in Texas. . . . She presents here the Texas which Houston knew through his picturesque language and through the camera’s carefully focused lens. Her story provides continuity for Houston’s activities and perspective for her photographs.” 113 exquisite illustrative photographs of Texas east of San Antonio. GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe Austin, Texas Phone GR 7-0925 of chasing girls, or early in the morning; or, before quizzes, all night. When I arrived at the University of Texas I had been addicted to serious, independent reading for five or six years; at the University of Texas I lost the habit. I DISCOVERED THERE that knowledge had been compartmentalized \(with the compartments named “departed within the compartments. Slowly it did dawn on me that as an undergraduate, I was not expected to become a generally knowledgeable person; I was expected to become a person who had made a C average in about 40 sub-courses, eight of them in the compartment I was majoring in and four in the compartment I was minoring’ in. As I idled beneath the tree of knowledge, gathering from the grass stray causes and notices of me in the student paper and committee chairmanships, bringing to my side when I could a young damsel to share my enjoyment of my importance, only occasionally did I have to reach for the fruit of the tree; I simply called up to the monkeys thereabove for the apples that caught my fancy, and fhey were dropped into my lap. Although some professors took passing interest in me and three or four took real interest in me, they had no way of keeping up with my progress except grades; they were not my supervisors, they had no responsibility toward me that was organic to the system in which we were together involved. I remember the unspoken complicity of a professor who taught me some English literature, who never held me to attending lectures, making approximately sure only that I was doing the reading; he conveyed to me the same contempt for the requirements that I had learned on my own. I remember the open complicity of a young philosophy instructor who told me, about a month into a course of his I was taking, that it was a waste of time for me to come to the lecture; that I should just read the textbook and take the final. Much was beckoning my insecure ego toward its deluded recognitions, I did as he suggested. I knew that all the University really cared about was that I make my grades. If I made my grades, I was getting educated to their satisfaction. This I knew because the only thing that the University was really watching about me was my grades. When I made Phi Eta Sigma, the freshman grades society, the deans I rarely encountered began to convey to me a cer MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each the Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. The TRAVIS COUNTY LIBERAL DEMOCRATS meet at Saengerrunde Hall, Scholz’ Garten, at 8 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays. You’re invited. WORK PARTIES every Sunday afternoon in Austin, 2:00 p.m., Texas Society to Abolish Capital Punishment, 3014 Washington Square. Free refreshments. tain acceptance; when I arrived in Phi Beta Kappa I really became a member of the tribe. I did not tell them, because it was not to my interest to do so, that I was defrauding them. They did not tell me, why I do not know, that they were defrauding me. The secret to success at the University of Texas, for a competent student, is to case the grading system. One must first of all learn how to memorize a textbook. One has to read it, of course, but the point is how to remember it, so as to be able to spew out any part of it on an examination. One must next learn how to memorize lecture notesorganize them in the course of reading them over, and then memorize their organization, leaving the details to recall themselves within that framework, as best they randomly may. I shall now confess, as well as pass on to any young students who wish to defraud their university and themselves, my personal secret. You give a oneword name to each element in the prganizaton of the textbook or the lecture notes. You take the first letter of each of these names and make one master word of it \(having taken care to use some words that have the organization of the course in mind. If the professor is the considerate sort who telegraphs, either by the obviousness of his organization of his subject or by direct warning, what questions he will ask on tests, you just work out a masterword for each sub-subject of this particular sub-course, and away you go. It works like a charm. There is just one difficulty to this method, especially when it is perfected for a test the night before in an all-night cramming session. After the test you forget everything. The master word goes, and with it goes also the knowledge. But losing your innocence, you know that this does not matter. Once you get through this course you will never again, as an undergraduate, be held really responsible for this information. \(True, in foreign languages one must not rely on mere stratagems too long. I slipped from A to B to B minus to C before I scrambled out of this pitfall by abandoning Spanish. In languages, you see, no casing of the system can spare you the consequences of accumulating ignorance: you must fall behind if you do not keep up. Sciences and math are also more difficult. But this is a niggle; if you fail a course you can always take it over. You are never evaluated as to whether you are educated; you are simply evaluated AA MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.