The idea that I could contact my former contributors en masse, and hence the very possibility of this sequel, self-germinated. I had before me the chance to perform an experiment—albeit a methodologically naïve and entirely qualitative one—in the sociology of a liberal arts education. What would these individuals, reaching back as far as fifteen years, now think about their education, their published essays, and their very lives? How could I not ask them, given this new technological potential? I wanted to know what they would say at this distance in time, and certainly others committed to education would, too. Thus this second anthology was born.
The terms of participation were deliberately unstructured: I asked our former students to reflect on their earlier essay or to go off in an entirely new direction, in either case encouraging them to base their new writing on the urgencies and lessons of life beyond college graduation. Those who are represented here chose a vast spectrum of styles, from things very academic indeed, in both content and style, to intensely organic and loosely structured self-reflections—and beyond that, to drawings, photographs, and stories. The range of expressive modalities was something I could never have anticipated; the result is a collection that is, in my admittedly biased view, both stunning and coherent.