I am wondering if my mentality is good for an academic. Or does my mentality mean I should not go to academia:

(1) I am not an avid reader and I do not read for leisure. I do not read in the free time. However, I like learning topics and I if I find that the topic is interesting, I will try my best to understand it with all the resources possible.

(2) I am a shy public speaker, but I like explaining the things I learned through writing / one-to-one communication.

(3) I am not a passionate teacher, but I DO NOT agree that people are stupid and cannot learn certain things. I am willing to teach someone if they are willing to learn. I DO NOT like making classes that are just tough, but I like creating tough problems and guiding people on ways to solve them, so that people become good problem solvers.

(4) My although I like learning things for internal satisfaction, my main goals are glory, honor, and prestige. I do not brag because I find bragging cheap and mean. But I like when people respect me and I am willing to help people in their careers if they respect me and/or if they are genuinely good people. (*and good people are polite, kind, honest, and genuine)

(5) Scientific knowledge is a tool for me for glory, honor, and prestige; while philosophical knowledge is something I use to guide my life and actions.

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    Academia is generally not for “glory, honor, and prestige.” You should consider the Navy Seals instead. Apr 19, 2021 at 22:36
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    Hmmm, @gnometorule, a lot of the fights we see detailed here over "first authorship" makes me wonder if it isn't a pretty widely held view - glory etc.
    – Buffy
    Apr 19, 2021 at 23:36
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    @Buffy I don't think the first authorship issues have anything to do with glory, they have to do with the issue of getting appropriate credit for work you've done (in fields where author order indicates contribution), which is key for many goals that have nothing to do with glory, like getting admitted to grad school, getting prime post doc positions, getting hired as faculty, getting tenure, etc.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 20, 2021 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


I don't think that the person you are describing is all that different from a hefty fraction of academics. Most of us are driven in some way by our interests in research and/or teaching.

You will have some things to learn to be successful, of course, but graduate school is designed to teach many of those things.

A lot of us are pretty introverted, and that is something that needs to be overcome to the extent that you can communicate effectively. But communication ability and introversion aren't inconsistent. Don't be so "shy", however, that you can't speak up for your needs when you recognize them.

No one can guarantee your success, but hard work can help get you there.

Consider all of your options, of course, and stay flexible until you are sure you have found the path.

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