Liberal Arts

I have a friend whose daughter went to Kenyon, a small liberal arts college near Columbus, Ohio. He mentioned this movie a few months ago because the writer/director/star and a bunch of cast members went to Kenyon. It was filmed on location while his daughter was there. I kind of forgot about it, then Gail and I were flipping through iTunes looking for a movie one night and just before we were ready to hang it up and not watch anything, we saw this was available.

It was a pretty cool movie. Josh Radnor plays a 35 year old bookish admissions officer for a university in New York City who makes a trip back to his liberal arts undergraduate college in Ohio to bid farewell to a long-tenured professor. He connects with a few old friends, meets some new people, gets in touch with his feelings, and generally completes a path to self-discovery. I really enjoyed it. It was funny and thoughtful, albeit a little sweet. Gail liked it too I think.

It touches on a lot of themes. What do you do when you retire from something you’ve been doing all of your adult life? Was college the best time of your life? Is it okay for an intelligent and cultured person to read trash fiction? Who has life figured out, the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millinials? What are the pitfalls of a Gen Xer dating a Millinial?

Makes me wonder, is it worth going back to your college campus for a visit? I’m not just talking about going back for a football game or a meeting. I’m talking about going back for a few days in the middle of the week and hanging out on the quad, eating in the dining hall, and visiting the bookstore/coffee shop. How would that strike you? Would it be full of feel-good moments or remind you of times of anguish and pain?

How you answer that last question could affect your take on this movie. As you can guess from the title, Radnor’s character wasn’t an engineering major studying a bazillion hours or a pre-med major stressing about getting in to med school. He was a liberal arts major who poured himself into figuring out the mysteries of life as portrayed by great writers and philosophers.

I wish I would have had the foresight to embrace the liberal-artish aspects of my college years. I remember taking a humanities class in my first semester and just getting killed on a paper about Beowulf. My prof actually had to bring me into her office to explain how horrible it was and make me re-write it. My reaction was to do the bare minimum to get it over with. That’s it. Dumbass.

Well, I’m never getting those days back, but things didn’t work out too bad. This movie made me think about heading back to school for a few days and working from the student center or something. It may get the creative juices flowing and unlock some mysteries for me.

Cool flick. Really enjoyed it.