to fail somebody

Masha*

Senior Member
Russia: Russian
How would you explain the phrase "the university has failed you" from this quotation:

"If you feel that you have both feet planted on solid ground, then the university has failed you"
Robert Gohen

Thank you in advance
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Masha*,

    The university has failed to stimulate your mind, and give you cause to be aware
    how little you really know. A good university education should leave the student with
    questions and uncertainties, rather than a solid sense of self-assurance.
     

    Mr Badger

    Member
    New Zealand, English
    "to fail somone" in this context means to fail to deliver/fulfill a promise or expectation.

    E.g. Boy upset at mother because she didn't give him a chocolate bar, when she had said that she would.
    "You promised to bring me a chocolate bar! You have failed (to keep your promise to) me."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I think you need to separate the literal meaning from the figurative meaning.

    "If you feel that you have both feet planted on solid ground, then the university has failed you"
    Robert Gohen

    He is saying (in my ever-so-humble-opinion) that the university should have opened your eyes to so many possibilities in the world that you cannot yet feel like you know where you are or where you are going. If you do know where you are and where you are going, then the university has failed to open your eyes to the myriad of possibilities out there.
     
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