If I ever have a chance to teach a freshman seminar course — to explain to students in their first several weeks what it’s going to take to succeed in college and what the value of their education might be — this would be my entire syllabus:
Peg took courses, a different course each winter, choosing what was offered at the local high school. She took a course on the History of Art, one on Great Civilizations of the East, one on Discoveries and Explorations Through the Ages. She went to class one night a week, even if she was very tired or had a cold. She wrote tests and prepared papers. Sometimes Robert would find a page covered with her small neat handwriting on top of the refrigerator or the dresser in their room.
Therefore we see that the importance of Prince Henry the Navigator was in the inspiration and encouragement of other explorers for Portugal, even though he did not go on voyages himself.
He was moved by her earnest statements, her painfully careful small handwriting, and angry that she never got more than a B-plus for these papers she worked so hard at.
“I don’t do it for the marks,” Peg said. Her cheekbones reddened under the freckles, as if she was making some kind of personal confession. “I do it for the enjoyment.”
from “Fits,” by Alice Munro
If I added anything to it, it would be simply the Aristotelian suggestion (from Rhetoric) that learning comes most easily when it is learning done with pleasure. But Alice Munro illustrates that so beautifully already.