David Foster Wallace: Kenyon Commencement Speech

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David Foster Wallace: Kenyon Commencement Speech Attending college is commonly seen as a time of life for learning how to think; David Foster Wallace disagrees in his Kenyon commencement speech. Although Wallace acknowledges that a typical commencement speech consists of uplifting messages about the human value of a liberal arts education, he instead expresses what a liberal arts education means to him. Rather than a liberal arts education teaching students how to think for themselves—which is now common belief—Wallace instead expresses that a liberal arts education teaches students to exercise control over how and what to think. To clarify, he explains, “it means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and…show more content…
Ungar writes to correct false stereotypes of liberal arts education and asserts that liberal arts will create well-rounded students armed to achieve success. Wallace declares that liberal arts instead provides human value through creating graduates able to think differently outside of the natural human tendency, not graduates with more value through experience in more fields as Ungar sees it. Although Wallace does not disprove Ungar, I support his perspective that what a liberal arts education provides is more than what meets the eye. Graduates of liberal arts may be able to claim that they were provided with experience in several areas, but this does not guarantee to the employer that they are strong and valuable still in those areas. What can be guaranteed, however, is that a liberal arts graduate is well prepared to control how and what they think—as Wallace Describes—regardless of content they are able to recall from their schooling and put into practice. Simply put, I am with Wallace in the view that a liberal arts education will produce employees more able to work smarter and more efficiently, and although Ungar believes that value comes from simply broad experience, I still maintain that liberal arts creates value like no
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