Having just moved Scout into her Bowdoin dorm, I was sitting in a beautiful music recital hall that had served as a swimming pool during my own Bowdoin days. I had joined the other parents who had gathered to hear some words of wisdom from Bowdoin President Barry Mills and Academic Dean Cristle Judd.
As you can imagine, the parental mood was a mix of excitement (My kid’s going to the college of Hawthorne & Longfellow and Joshua Chamberlain and the illustrious President Franklin Pierce! Well…. you get the idea.) and anxiety. The latter emotion seemed to be a blend of Empty-Nester Syndrome mixed with worry over how our sons and daughters would fare with the rigorous academic regimen they were about to face.
While both speakers were excellent, Dean Judd disarmed our angst with a clever quip that an MIT dean used to say to anxious parents on opening day: “I regret to inform you that 50% of your children will end up in the bottom half of their class.”
Walking out, I had two thoughts:
1) Boy, an exciting opportunity lies ahead for Scout.
2) It’s probably a good thing that they didn’t identify the top and bottom halves back in the 70s.