It’s nice to be important. But it’s important to be nice. This oft-repeated elementary school homily is apparently lost upon the superachievers at the pinnacle of academic accomplishment. Writing in the Washington Post, Yale law student Amelia Rawls observes:
“During four years at Princeton University and nearly a year at Yale Law School, I have been surrounded by students who dazzle,” Rawls writes. “They include published novelists, acclaimed musicians and Olympic medalists….They can be inspirational, and I am lucky to be able to learn from them. But they are not always nice people.
“Some of these students will denounce world hunger but be unfriendly to the homeless. They will debate environmental policy but never offer to take out the trash. They will believe vehemently in many causes but roll their eyes when reminded to be humble, to be generous and to ‘do what is right.’”
Youthful whining? Perhaps. Rawls paints with a broad brush, still she does grasp an interesting issue when she wonders “if our society is crippling itself by subjecting its youths to an almost-Darwinian college selection process.”