Written: Written December 24, 1894
Published: First published in 1929 in the Journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 11. Sent from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 70-72a.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
At last I have found time to answer your letter of the 15th.
I cannot agree with your views of the school and your studies.
First—the doctor said don’t go till Christmas and you think it will not be convenient to miss your lessons. People miss months, not only weeks; it will not be any better if you have to take to your bed by the spring.
Secondly—you write that either you will stop studying altogether or, if you go on, you can’t be “just off-hand about it”. It seems to me that the main thing now is to graduate. For that there is no sense in working extra hard; what does it matter if you get threes and an occasional two by way of exception? In any case you will get your remove since you had good marks in the first and second terms. And that is all you need. Moreover, since you did everything thoroughly at the beginning, you will finish up well even if you do no homework. You must agree that those who go all the way through with threes do not, first, do their homework and, second, do not know the first thing about the subject. [At least that is how it was at my school.] So you will have an advantage over them.
It seems to me that your only chance of finishing the course is to be “off-hand” about it. If you don’t, you will be seriously ill by summer.
If you cannot take things easy, then it is better to give up studying and go abroad. You will always be able to graduate and a trip now will freshen you up, enliven you, and get you away from moping at home. You will have a chance to look around and stay on there to learn something more interesting than Ilovaisky’s History or Filaret’s Catechism (?).
Do you take good walks now? Probably not. Why shouldn’t you go skating? Again you’ll say, “It’s dull”. But you must not allow yourself to get so weak—that will be even less “amusing”. You must force yourself.
About Shelgunov, I agree with you that some of his things are out of date. Which of his articles do you like? On Russian or historical problems? On economics or philosophy?
 In Russian schools a mark of “three”=fair, “two”=poor.—Ed.
In Russian schools a mark of “three”=fair, “two”=poor.—Ed.