This morning, the Stanford University community might still be smarting from the outcome of the Rose Bowl, and this missive in the Chronicle of Higher Education by the dean of admissions probably won't improve their mood much. It is a freshman convocation speech he would have liked to have heard. My favorite excerpt:
You do not deserve to be here. Not yet. "Deserve" is a heavy word, freighted with a shared sense of obligation. It can be understood only in a context of ethics. It denotes merit earned from service—that's where the "serve" part comes from. That means service to others. And no, the nonprofit you founded in high school to shelter abandoned ferrets does not count. We live in a society increasingly defined by winner-takes-all competition. You're the winners. And you won by serving yourself.
The whole article is on the CofHE site, along with a number of insightful comments.