Manhood 101: Going from boys to men

In many ways, college is a training ground. Students are free and encouraged to fail. By steadfastly marching toward dismal results, young minds learn with certainty what does not work. How better to develop a sense of the right?

The class most frequently failed in college is Manhood 101. The four-year course demands intense concentration in areas ranging from beer-drinking to chivalry to tie-tying. Never is there a freshman sufficiently trained to test out.

Sadly, the University grants no degree for graduation from Manhood 101 and allows male students to receive diplomas in less formative majors without this most valuable of credit. For this reason, many a male student ignores his Manhood 101 homework. Bro Fever claims many a freshman, only to send him off four years later with regressive attitudes and Neanderthal-level sensibilities.

In an effort to remind my fellow male students of their homework, I offer an annotated outline of their upcoming assignments.

*Discover Passion:* Yes, men can be passionate. And not just about sports, drinking and womanizing. Believe it or not, it really does not matter what you are passionate about, as long as it is an authentic pursuit. The combination of charisma and knowledge involved in an honest interest attracts any open-minded person. Eric Snodgrass makes ladies swoon in his introductory atmospheric sciences classes when discussing topics as riveting as El Nino and lake effect snow. The source of the excitement is not the topic of discussion but the genuine love he shows for his field combined with a refined sense of charm. Find your passion and be unforgiving in your interest.

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*Be Honest:* With yourself. Every man’s armor shows cracks. Of course, a man fixes things himself, but he can only fix what he knows to be broken. Examine your weaknesses openly. If you need help, ask. Don’t know how to properly perform a lift at the Activities and Recreation Center? Frustrated with your writing? A real man asks how to do it correctly. He is neither intimidated by others nor ashamed of his lack of knowledge. An honest man embraces how little he knows and works fervently to fill the gaps.

Self-aware ignorance is only lame when no effort is made to step up your game.

*Subtle Assertion:* This fine art runs rare. The alpha male feels no need to proclaim his greatness. His very essence is superior, his life an ongoing ode to success, honor and perseverance. Modesty is a fine aged wine. The strongest man in the room knows himself to be so and, therefore, feels no need to prove it. The smartest man in the room is the one most willing to admit he knows little. Ego rubs reverence raw. Actions speak louder than words, and restrained swag screams subtle confidence.

*Balance:* Some guys need a diploma from the ARC. Congratulations, you are officially bigger than a bear! The University should start an exchange program between males found studying more than eight hours in the library every day and males found lifting more than four hours a day. An astute friend recently told me a real man is neither Odysseus nor Atticus Finch. A real man works daily to maintain an even keel in his pursuit of timely revelry as well as examination. Mind, body and soul are each opportunities for a man to demonstrate his craftsmanship.

Well, there you have it: a preliminary outline of Manhood 101’s coursework. Of course, not every assignment is listed. Each project requires varying amounts of focus for different students.

The real scholars of this University will acknowledge their call for daily development and reap the rewards of graduation from Manhood 101 for the rest of their life.

_Phil is a senior in Media._