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A hope note

Robert Frost, who never graduated from college, was awarded more than 40 honorary doctorates. Four times he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Frost acquired the reputation of a maverick when he taught at Amherst, Mich., and Dartmouth. He might say at the first class meeting, ‘Why do we have classes anyway?’ He preferred dialogues with students at his house. ‘What we do in college is to get over our little-mindedness,’ he told them. ‘I want everyone to be carried away by something.’ ‘Suggest things to me I never thought of.’ Frost played the role of bard and gadfly. A student’s only unforgivable sin was not to think.
His official biographer, Gorham Munson, described one final examination Frost gave at Amherst. Frost wrote on the blackboard, ‘Do something,’ and left the room.
Some thought he was expressing his contempt for the grading system, so they took ‘do something’ to mean going back to the fraternity house for beer and games. Others regurgitated into the examination book everything they could remember that Frost had ever said during classes. Some walked upstairs to Frost’s office and told him how much they enjoyed his class. But two students thought about insights into life they had gleaned from his class and wrote a few paragraphs about them. To the bard of Amherst, those two ‘did something.’
Life hands us all a final exam with a similar injunction: ‘Do something.’
I imagine God on judgment day asking each person, ‘Show me your slides.’ Meaning, ‘Where did you go? What did you see? What ‘something’ did you do? How did you spend the one life you had?’
I like to think Frost would approve of that image.

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