Wrong Message(s) Sent by Newspaper Story About Family
With Five Harvard Grads?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Salt Lake City’s Deseret News ran a story about a family which includes five graduates of Harvard University. While the accomplishments of these young people are indeed impressive, several commenters on the story wondered whether it might be sending the wrong message. I agree. The story can be found here (last accessed June 24, 2016): http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656709/Family-of-scholars-Utah-family-celebrates-5th-graduate-from-Harvard-University.html. I commented:
I sense more than a little sarcasm from [another poster] (the comment was, “It makes my heart swell to see such a successful and picture perfect family. How special they must be.”); frankly, I can see where s/he’s coming from. While I don’t engage in schadenfreude nor do I need to find someone at whom I can look down my nose to feel successful, accomplished and valued, I share concerns expressed by others that perhaps stories such as these (albeit inadvertently) send the wrong message: that one is one’s accomplishments, that one is as good as one’s grades, one’s intellect, one’s other talents, or one’s school. The reality is, most of us will go to the local community college and/or state university, get average or marginal grades, and perhaps have to settle for something far different than we’d hoped for, career-wise. While I didn’t distinguish myself academically, and while the “U” [University of Utah] isn’t Harvard, I have a law degree. Law has become a very expensive hobby, I have no hope of practicing, and I’m working (again) in the kind of job I went to law school in hopes of escaping (answering phones: it’s not bad, but it’s certainly not why I got a law degree.)