“Yes, then you remember that once a professor said something like this to you, that the world was suffering from materialism and intellectualism. He was quite right, but he cannot be your physician any more than he can be his own. With him intelligence goes on discoursing to the point of self-annihilation. He will perish.”

– “Concerning the Soul,” Hermann Hesse

The essay that that quote comes from (which a kind person has scanned, along with a variety of other excellent books, here) was sent to me this morning by a friend. It urges honesty in communication and, when speaking, true expression of feelings. If you’re excited, it seems to say, share that with people.

It’s a sentiment that college students should take to heart. Simply agreeing with others around us because we don’t want people to judge our actual opinions and feelings is common and it is sad–and, in class, it makes for poor class discussions. You know the type: no one says anything new, and everyone’s an echo chamber for everyone else. Those classes suck.

So, instead of being part of that, go ahead and say something new–whether in class, or in a club, or when you see your friends from high school back home over the holidays and they want to know how you feel about school. You gain almost nothing from small talk. At least if you express your honest feelings, you have the possibility of finding someone who feels the same way–and those unexpected connections are part of what makes the college experience truly great.