If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to get
the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude. See in
college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural
method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall
learn what you have no taste or capacity for. The college, which should
be a place of delightful labor, is made odious and unhealthy, and the
young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits.
I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not
by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise
instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the
attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools,
not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to
put on a professor.
- -- Ralph Waldo Emerson