Sometimes we need to know that other people have faith in us, even when we can't really access that ourselves.
Having said that, if Hopkins tells me one more time how much less intelligent he's gotten in his old age, I'm driving down there to strangle him.
It reminds me a great deal of the day that I sat behind the reference desk at the small Christian college where I used to work, listening to one of my classmates, a recently laid-off factory worker, bemoan the fact that she "wasn't college material". I knew she was upset over losing her job and frightened at the prospect of being a first-time college student at twenty-eight, so I handed her my Kleenex box and let her cry it out. When she finally stopped talking, I told her, "You know, you were sitting next to me in all of those honor roll pictures they took for the paper back in high school. There is nothing wrong with your mind. You are going to graduate if I have to strap you on my back and drag you through this." I left for my current job before she finished, but finish, she did.
In nearly every academic-related yearbook photo in which I appeared between my freshman and junior years of high school, Hopkins is either seated or standing beside me. All joking about lost and/or killed brain cells aside, I'd have to actively witness the cleaving of his skull to believe that he's become even slightly less intelligent since high school. I also really don't care how many undergraduate hours he's completed and whether or not they've culminated in the piece of paper...college isn't life. (I'm a career academic, so that's something that the last fifteen years in my field should've demonstrated; that's above and beyond the nineteen and a half years that constitute my formal education.) The greatest education that anyone receives is by the act of living, and in our collective cases, also surviving.
I make a pretty rotten cheerleader most of the time, but the irresistibly whining force has just met the intractable immovable object. My belief in Hopkins has never wavered, regardless; it doesn't because it simply can't.