Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Maybe I Should Switch to Stern

No, not really.

I love my secular college. Really I do. And I honestly think I have benefited even religiously from my stint here. However, every now and then I'm reminded of the benefits of going to Stern. Suffice it to say that writing a paper about whether prostitution should be criminalized is one of those instances for me. Somehow I'm not quite sure this is what I would be writing about at Stern and I want no part of writing about this or spending tons of time in my art appreciation class studying churches or reading the New Testament in some of my core classes.

I am happy with where I'm at right now, but sometimes it's good to get a reminder about what I'm missing; just because this place has some good things to offer certainly doesn't mean it's all good and maybe I need to write a paper about shtus every now and then to make sure I realize that.


At 2/22/05, 9:30 PM, Blogger T. "B." M. said...

Yeah, I know how you feel. I also go to a secualar school, at least for part of the time. I could write a book for frum parents called:
"What NOT to let cv"s you or your children to read--EVER!"
However, I'm not sure Stern would be so much better in terms of curriculum, but at least the students you would think would be better.

I also think to myself often, shouldn't I go to a frum college, even though my Rav says it's okay to go to a secular school, even a coed one. I mean he has a B.A. and an M.A. from a secualar school. I just have one piece of advice that he gave to me, that I will pass on to you:
Make sure you have a Torah influence as strong as your secular college influence.

At 2/22/05, 9:58 PM, Blogger Stx said...

Eli7--*Gasp!* Did you just say what I think you said? Def not mekabel ;)

TBM--Wow, interesting idea from your Rav. I like it. I really like it.

Now the only problem is putting it into practice...

At 2/23/05, 6:47 AM, Blogger T. "B." M. said...

"Now the only problem is putting it into practice..."

Yeah, tell me about it. :)

At 2/23/05, 9:40 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Being at a secular college is definitely not the easiest thing and I definitely would not reccomend it for everyone, but I do think that you can gain alot from it. I would not be who I am today had I not come here. And despite the title of this post I would not be happy at Stern. I think, like everything else, secular college is a two-way street and you hafta choose what to take out of it.

At 2/23/05, 11:48 AM, Blogger Stx said...

And yet I think that even those who "choose" to take the right thing out of it, will still wear down their sensitivies than they would have otherwise...

*Throws up hands in defense against sharp flying objects*

Y'all agree?

At 2/23/05, 12:12 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Agree that you should protect yourself from sharp flying objects (especially since I will soon be in proximity to actually reach you)? Yup, I agree. ;)

Seriously, though, I think it's a give-and-take like anything else. I personally do think I've grown since starting at my distinctly secular university. Have I worn down some sensitivities? Probably. Is that a bad thing? Yes. Does it balance out? For me, I think it balances out in favor of my attending the secular university. Really I do. Does that apply to everyone? No.

The real scary part, I think, is knowing when it will balance out favorably and when it won't...

At 2/23/05, 1:22 PM, Blogger T. "B." M. said...

"I think that even those who 'choose' to take the right thing out of it, will still wear down their sensitivies than they would have otherwise..."

Very true. One must weigh the pro's and con's. It's also very important to consult others, especially people with true da'as Torah or binah, Torah understanding. The most important things when making these decisions is to keep you priorities straight, Torah being number one.

At 2/28/05, 4:51 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

Hi, I'm visiting your blog for the first time and am struck at how similar your outlook is to the one I had when I was at Barnard. It's a little eerie for me to be reading this!

Regarding your paper on prostitution, I actually think it's exactly that kind of writing/thinking experience --if framed properly -- that makes secular college important for Orthodox people. You say in your little "blog bio" that you want to go to law school. Isn't it important for you to be able to separate the ideas of what you think is moral from your ideas what you think should be legal? Isn't it important for you, as a future lawyer -- and also, as a member of American society -- to be able to look at the lives of people very different from yourself, look at the factors that made them come to such a different point, and make decisions, based on a combination of empathy, dispassion, and knowledge of American law, about whether certain activity should be criminal or legal?

At 2/28/05, 12:23 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Sarah, absolutely. And I DO think college is a valuable experience; I wouldn't want to be here for forever if I didn't.

The reason the paper really annoyed me was because it had to justify criminalization on abstract moral reasoning, and as much as I love Kant (really, I do), I've found that it's impossible to ground morals in anything but religion. It is pure folly to do otherwise. Not to mention the fact that in my argument to criminalize prostitution, I had to talk about things that I didn't particularly want to and that I definitely don't want to publish on this blog.

Hence the frustration - but don't worry, I'm staying put; Stern will have to survive without me.


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