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  1. #1
    Senior Member Azseroffs's Avatar
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    Default Career in Academia

    Is there anyone out there in this field that wants to give their opinion of it?

    I just want to know what you like, dislike, and anything else you would like to share.
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  2. #2
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    It sucks and I can't stand the self-indulgence. I'm currently doing a PhD, but it's with the aim of going into industry once I graduate.

    What I like about it: Relative freedom to study what I want to study, to do experiments that I want to do, flexible working hours, being able to hang out with a group of people who are relatively smart and highly educated. The exciting moments where I go "A-ha!", which result in me living in the lab for the next few weeks. Teaching intelligent, excited and motivated students who challenge me.

    What I dislike about it: As I said, the self-indulgence. The drive to publish as many papers as possible. The politics involved with getting a paper accepted to a particular journal. The politics that you have to play to get funding. The politics that you have to play to get support. The lab politics, down at the lowest level. Slackers who aren't interested in what they're doing, and are just trying to maintain the status quo. The over-idealised vision of a place where people seek "truth" that is sold to naiive people, and the expectations that so many of us fail to live up to.

    So yeah, academia. Do I sound bitter? Strangely enough, I feel like I'm just telling it as it is. I've never wanted to be part of academia permanently, so perhaps my views are skewed.

  3. #3
    Sniffles
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    I'm more interested in the field of Independent Scholarship.

  4. #4
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    I am tired graduate student... If you're heading into academia... be sure you're okay with working independently for at least 90% of the time. You must also have very strong internal drive to keep on going even if stuff just doesn't seem to work no matter how much you try.

    That's the reason why I'm switching fields... Never ending projects wear me out.
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  5. #5
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    I'm mostly in it for the self-indulgence.


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Azseroffs's Avatar
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    I feel like I need the freedom to learn what I want and I don't really have a passion for anything but learning things I'm interested in. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just trying to convince myself of that though. I usually can't work with others. I feel like I'm dragging loose baggage most of the time. Either that or I get lazy and let them drag me. I can never get that happy medium of really working evenly with someone.

    That's why I have been considering it.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    If you're in the sciences, and particularly if you do lab or field work, you do kinda need to be able to work in a team and collaborate.

    What non sequitur said is pretty accurate. She and I are both in Australia though, and from what I've heard, it's less cut-throat in Australia than in the US. And the publish or perish drive is really strong. Funding and jobs are strongly tied to your publishing record.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Seems like the idea these days is to publish as much crap as you can get out there rather than actually take time to figure out REALLY new ideas... especially so in Psychology and the social sciences in general. 30 years spent figuring out one really good subject is probably more effective than spending that same time publishing 20 research papers that only offer moderate advancements in the field. I thought about academia personally, but I found myself being drawn to the more human side of it - helping students figure out how their newfound knowledge will help them in their lives.
    "Can you set me free from this dark inner world? Save me now, last beats in the soul.."

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  9. #9
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azseroffs View Post
    I feel like I need the freedom to learn what I want and I don't really have a passion for anything but learning things I'm interested in. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just trying to convince myself of that though. I usually can't work with others. I feel like I'm dragging loose baggage most of the time. Either that or I get lazy and let them drag me. I can never get that happy medium of really working evenly with someone.

    That's why I have been considering it.
    I'm the same way, and I call tell you that it doesn't get better in academia - unless you're in a humanities-based field like history or literature, where you'll be able to work alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    If you're in the sciences, and particularly if you do lab or field work, you do kinda need to be able to work in a team and collaborate.

    What non sequitur said is pretty accurate. She and I are both in Australia though, and from what I've heard, it's less cut-throat in Australia than in the US. And the publish or perish drive is really strong. Funding and jobs are strongly tied to your publishing record.
    Yep. The teamwork aspect is pretty huge, especially since in the sciences you'll need people to teach you everything, sometimes more than once.

    Heh, I've worked in a lab in the US before, and it's pretty much the same. I was an undergrad there, though. So maybe that's why they were more willing to help me out and teach me stuff. The cut-throat nature of funding applications, petty jealousies, idea-stealing, lack of integrity by some individuals, fighting over authorships of papers and internal/external lab politics are pretty similar though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Azseroffs's Avatar
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    I was thinking sociology. Also I don't think I would have a problem working with people that are intelligent. I don't find too many people like that in my freshman courses at a junior college which is the group work I'm used to.
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