Will You Sprint, Stroll or Stumble Into a Career?


At the age of 18, G. Stanley Hall left his home in the tiny village of Ashfield, Mass., for Williams College, just 35 miles away, with a goal to “do something and be something in the world.” His mother wanted him to become a minister, but the young Stanley wasn’t sure about that plan. He saw a four-year degree as a chance to explore.

Though Hall excelled at Williams, his parents, who were farmers, considered his undergraduate years a bit erratic. He didn’t think he had the requirements for a pastor, but nonetheless enrolled in Union Theological Seminary in New York after graduation. The big city was intoxicating, and living there persuaded him to abandon his religious studies. After securing a loan, he set off for Germany to study philosophy, travel and visit the theaters, bars and dance halls of Berlin.