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Summary Of David Foster Wallace's Kenyon Commencement Speech

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In David Foster Wallace’s “ Kenyon Commencement Speech,” he discusses the importance of liberal arts education in “teaching you how to think” (Wallace, 199). He mentions how education is beyond the knowledge we learn, but about simple awareness will impact the choices we make for better or worse. The real value of education cannot be found in a career
(you may or may not be fired from), but it can be found in the way you view things through a different perspective and by considering how other factors can contribute to everyday life. This new approach in thinking will allow us to appreciate our lives and overcome our inner “default setting” towards the world (Wallace, 199). I agree with Wallace’s argument because the purpose of higher education should not be about having career-specific skills and obtaining a degree, but about intellectual and personal growth will help us survive in the real world.
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According to Wallace, after a long and tedious day, we become stressed and let our emotions get the best of us. We are wired to think we are the center of the universe. Because of this way of thinking, we blame others for our frustration and stress. In other words, our brain unconsciously switches to our “natural default setting” (Wallace, 199). In order to be able to overcome this way of thinking, it is important to be able to have the “choice of what to think about” (Wallace 199). We have the ability to control what we think and say in our everyday lives, the only thing stopping us is whether or not we choose to
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