I regret to write that pleasure reading time is scarce during the academic year. I miss the days of summer during which I possessed more time to read. Many books that I have read, including for the purposes of both school and pleasure, have changed my perspective and powered my growth as a college student. What follows is a list of a few of the books that have inspired me and how so:I recall specific episodes that motivated me to be a better student, that convinced me to embrace the act of learning more passionately, that proved to me that a proper, thorough, enlightening education is a gift to be cherished. Episodes from the young Adams’ own education are an example. His father, through discipline, ensured Adams seriously pursued his education as a boy. Throughout his childhood and at Harvard, Adams studied the Greek and Latin languages, mathematics, and philosophy, among other subjects as well. Adams—perhaps because of his upbringing—came to have a profound curiosity about the world and human nature that remained with him throughout his life. By reading his own writings about the importance of enlightenment through true education, I was convinced that receiving an education of the highest quality is of preponderant importance. Adams’ embrace of education was present in his parenting. He made sure his sons, especially John Quincy, learned Greek and Latin, were well-read in literature and well-versed in mathematics, and knowledgeable of modern languages.By studying the life of Adams—and the included details of the lives of the other founding fathers—I saw how their knowledge of everything—ranging from mathematics and the then-contemporary sciences to literature and history and philosophy—made them powerful communicators and wise law-makers.Jefferson, like Adams, kept his ability to read Latin and Greek sharp throughout his life. He was always inquiring about the latest advancements in science both in the Old and New Worlds. While not known for his oratory, he was a persuasive and terrific writer, especially in the political realm. I believe his years spent studying Latin, Greek, and French contributed greatly to his mastery of the English language. (If you have a few moments, look up the last letter Jefferson ever sent. Dated June 24, 1826, it is his denial in response to the invitation to go to the Capitol for the fiftieth anniversary of independence. It’s powerful.)
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