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Questions tagged [academic-life]

Questions related to academic culture, academic communities, and the coexistence of "life" and "academia."

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356 votes
17 answers
67k views

Upset by male classmates openly comparing female students according to physical appearance

I'm a female student studying computer science (CS). Some of the male CS students have given me a physical ranking compared to other female CS students, and it has me really upset, but I don’t know ...
UhHuhOkSure's user avatar
  • 2,309
119 votes
2 answers
24k views

What is this "can I hire you as a tutor" scam?

From time to time (presumably because I have an academic address, or am listed on a university web site) I get an e-mail like this: "My son will be in your city next month for two weeks. He is ...
GEdgar's user avatar
  • 18.5k
116 votes
9 answers
22k views

How to stop feeling guilty about unfinished work?

My biggest challenge as a PhD student is best summarized by the following from PHD Comics: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com A consequence of working in research is that the ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
96 votes
5 answers
7k views

Typical experiences of transgender people in academia?

I've recently come to accept that I'm transgender (MtF, male-to-female). I won't go into the exact details of this as it's personal, but I have a "girl mode" where I identify as a female. I'm also a ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
95 votes
10 answers
28k views

What makes academic failure different from failure in another career?

It is my understanding that academia as a nebulous whole has its own culture and speaks its own language that makes it a very different environment to work in compared to other so-called "industry" ...
astronat supports the strike's user avatar
86 votes
14 answers
18k views

What good is engineering research with no practical relevance?

I am a Ph.D. student currently doing research at a top engineering school in North America. I am becoming more and more jaded at the fact that a sizable portion of the research conducted at my ...
Norman's user avatar
  • 1,423
83 votes
14 answers
19k views

How do really talented people in academia think about people who are less capable than them? [closed]

To be more specific, how do really top professors think about students who are much less smart than them, the students can be their Ph.D. students or just students who were taking his/her class. This ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 941
80 votes
11 answers
32k views

Does it violate academic social norm to email someone around midnight?

I do this often because this is when I wrap up the stuff for my day. But I wonder if it is considered intrusive. I imagine a scenario where a phone that is linked to gmail rings due to my email, and ...
Shamisen Expert's user avatar
75 votes
9 answers
51k views

I wasted six years of my life getting a PhD degree. What should I do, and how will I survive?

I struggled with low self confidence throughout my bachelors, masters and PhD in chemical engineering. After spending two years in Masters and six years in getting a PhD degree, I am lost at what I ...
Abhik Tandon's user avatar
70 votes
9 answers
15k views

Is it socially acceptable to directly contact renowned academics as a student?

Can anyone chime in whether if it is socially acceptable for a (graduate) student to directly contact renowned academics outside your immediate research department with comments on their work or your ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
69 votes
6 answers
11k views

How to overcome difficulties of social interaction at my first academic conference

In a few days I'll be attending my first academic conference in Spain. I'll be going alone and this never became apparent to me that it might be a problem until I spoke to a few people about their ...
Aashiq Parker's user avatar
68 votes
15 answers
16k views

As a Head of Department, how can I make my faculty happier?

I am HoD for a department with over 30 members. The dept is socially inactive with only one or two social gatherings per academic year. No politics or "serious personal issues" among members. Just ...
seteropere's user avatar
  • 13.8k
67 votes
9 answers
17k views

What is the best way to deal with cranks?

Imagine you are minding your own business when you receive an email from someone who claims to have discovered the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. He provides ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 131k
66 votes
10 answers
24k views

Why do academics prefer Mac/Linux? [closed]

In the commercial world, Windows utterly dominates. As of time of writing its market share is somewhere around 85%. I don't have similar statistics for academia, but my personal observation is that ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 131k
66 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is life like for Western-raised/trained academics who are faculty in countries with extremely tight governmental control?

There are a growing number of prominent universities in the world which are based in countries where the government exerts substantial control over its citizens in ways that are not typical in "...
Danny W.'s user avatar
  • 3,289
64 votes
10 answers
17k views

Is it true that 'nice' professors fail to produce good students?

This is a very tough question to ask because there are so many advisors on this forum so I am expecting most inputs from the current grads. This question largely stemmed from a post I read online ...
Olórin's user avatar
  • 1,340
64 votes
10 answers
14k views

What should I do the day before submitting my PhD thesis?

I am submitting my PhD thesis in less than two days. I have checked all the tables, figures, appendices, references, and also checked spelling and any potential typos (which I believe there might be ...
Josee Luis's user avatar
64 votes
5 answers
11k views

Is it reasonable to worry about lack of potential for dating in postdoc positions?

I am 25 years old, and in a few months' time I will have to decide whether to get a job in London or apply for a postdoc somewhere. Apart from all of the usual pros and cons (eg. job security, ...
ChrisA's user avatar
  • 619
62 votes
11 answers
17k views

How do I gain back my faith in my PhD degree?

I am 3 years into a PhD program at a top North American university in STEM. My daily routine includes working on my research and preparing for courses I am assisting. In general, I would say that ...
Masked's user avatar
  • 347
58 votes
11 answers
23k views

My PI is publicly humiliating me: Why would a PI do this and what can I do to mitigate the damage from this?

My principal investigator (PI) and I tend to get along pretty well; however, he is often moody and has some quirks about him. Sometimes this means that he is in a bad mood and will take it out on me. ...
user135806's user avatar
57 votes
13 answers
19k views

Does academia have a lazy work culture?

I'm a rising sophomore at a top US university, and I've become really fascinated with the world of academia over the past year -- so much so that I'm considering doing a PhD after I graduate and ...
gtoques's user avatar
  • 968
57 votes
9 answers
15k views

Would it be acceptable to occasionally sleep at the lab?

I'm currently an undergrad, and work as a researcher in an EECS lab. Recently, I discovered a novel application to work on, and so for the last few weeks I've been staying at the lab late almost every ...
Snakes and Coffee's user avatar
57 votes
7 answers
10k views

Do I have an "anti-research" personality?

I am a second year Ph.D. student in a North American university who is mostly working on applied mathematics with a supervisor/advisor/PI. I have been troubled by a pattern of my own behaviour that ...
Curaçao Hajek's user avatar
56 votes
8 answers
13k views

Math Ph.D. does not know what to do with life? [closed]

Background: I am a Math Ph.D. student in the U.S. (originally from a developing nation) in partial differential equations (PDEs) but on the theoretical side of PDEs (no simulation, no numerical). I am ...
Noname's user avatar
  • 609
56 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is it normal to feel dread before starting a faculty position?

I need some advice. After several months of interviews and work, I secured a faculty position at a good business school, which was a relief since jobs are so hard to get around here. Everyone tells me ...
Skunkness's user avatar
  • 1,451
54 votes
14 answers
10k views

How should I deal with discouragement looking at others success?

I'm a master CS student. I had so many troubles in my life. I didn't have proper schooling and were in difficult situations which led to me being not so good compared to my peers now at the graduate ...
Jack Twain's user avatar
  • 4,012
53 votes
15 answers
16k views

If you know a family member who is much more qualified and capable in mathematics than you are, should find another field of specialisation?

Imposter Syndrome and depression: I feel pretty depressed that I am not as "qualified" as a close family member. In particular, this family member has undergraduate and graduate (PhD) degrees from Ivy ...
depressedguy1234's user avatar
51 votes
9 answers
23k views

Received an ultimatum from PhD advisor to leave that broke me completely. How to cope emotionally?

I am a PhD student in an American university, on year 4 of a 5-6 year program. Recently (three months ago), my advisor told me to leave the program since he doesn't think this subject is for me (he ...
StudentOfLife's user avatar
51 votes
13 answers
28k views

What do universities usually do with a student's graded final exams?

Personally I do not recall ever having seen any of my final exams I have taken during my undergrad (except in my nightmares). Midterms, quizzes and homeworks are usually returned to the students ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 11.5k
49 votes
9 answers
7k views

How to reconcile desire to succeed in academia/willingness to prioritize research with ethical concerns about fair work practices?

I'm not 100% sure how to phrase my question, but I've been grappling with this for sometime and thought maybe the responses would provide me some insight. I'm currently at PhD student soon to be on ...
overfull hbox's user avatar
48 votes
11 answers
11k views

Is Facebook a necessary tool for a student?

I'm starting a master's degree in the autumn, and I recently received an email from the university inviting me to join the Facebook page for the course. However, I don't currently have an active ...
CaptainCodeman's user avatar
47 votes
7 answers
6k views

How can I overcome academic "researcher's block"?

I work as a senior academic in an important university in Europe. My name is in several publications in top journals in my field. I have always published papers together with brilliant collaborators ...
Albin's user avatar
  • 561
46 votes
4 answers
7k views

Cheating among the international students very common in college. What should I do?

I am an international student in an European country. During midterms and finals, I realized that more than half of the students are overtly cheating. I do not mean just looking other student's paper, ...
user103550's user avatar
45 votes
15 answers
9k views

Is it important to maintain a work-life balance as a PhD student?

My apologies in advance for asking such a trivial question. My concerns may not be as urgent or serious as some of the others on here, but I have been worrying about this for some time now. My life ...
user avatar
45 votes
4 answers
15k views

"Academic time": why is 110 minutes called two hours?

I found an exam online from the MIT that states: You have two hours (academic time, 110 minutes) to complete the exam. What is this academic time unit and where does it come from?
Jules Lamur's user avatar
45 votes
9 answers
8k views

How does a suspended student deal with an unprofessional university counselor?

I am a suspended student and I have been getting counseling for three months. During those three months, I have noticed extremely unprofessional behavior from my counselor. When I started counseling, ...
user avatar
45 votes
5 answers
11k views

Doing research in academia and not liking competition

In short: is it possible to do research in academia (starting from a PhD position up to being a professor) while not liking competition? I was an athlete in high school and I left because I was not ...
wrong_path's user avatar
44 votes
6 answers
2k views

How does the US government shutdown affect academics? [duplicate]

I hope this question does not offend our American fellows. I've read in news that the US government is partially closed and many agencies and services run by US federal government is no longer ...
user avatar
43 votes
10 answers
11k views

Help with becoming overly obsessive (about mathematics)

TLDR: I love mathematics but can't find a way to study/do research without becoming unhealthily obsessive. Any tips on how not to think about mathematics all the time, on how to manage intrusive ...
smalldog's user avatar
  • 547
42 votes
5 answers
18k views

Why doesn't the academic year start on January first?

The academic year starts somewhere in the middle of the normal calendar year in almost all schools. Even if the courses are divided into semesters, the Fall term is essentially considered to be the ...
Marvin's user avatar
  • 577
42 votes
7 answers
12k views

My peers think I slept with my overly friendly TA - what do I do?

I am a female undergraduate student and in a bit of a situation here. Last semester, I had a male graduate teaching assistant for one of my classes, and I got the very strong impression for months ...
monsterdynamite's user avatar
41 votes
7 answers
8k views

Are universities run more and more like businesses? What are the consequences? [closed]

I watched an episode of "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" called "Is College Still Worth It?" In there the point was made, with ample evidence, that universities are increasingly ...
user avatar
41 votes
4 answers
5k views

What exactly is "campus security"?

I read this question where a teaching assistant asks how to deal with an aggressive student. In her answer, the user Nicole Hamilton gives advice to call campus security. Now, in my naive foreign ...
zdurra's user avatar
  • 371
40 votes
10 answers
12k views

Is "flowery language" frowned upon in engineering and STEM related research?

I work in an engineering field (related to AI, machine learning, etc.) and something I found interesting is whenever I use "big words" or even long words like "substantiate" or &...
Coco Jambo's user avatar
  • 1,013
38 votes
11 answers
16k views

Was my student being disrespectful by using shouting language in her email to me?

I have a PhD in statistics and teach statistics for humanities students in a university. One week before the start of the semester I posted all the required information regarding the course textbook, ...
Alice's user avatar
  • 750
37 votes
12 answers
11k views

How to address in-group bullying without compromising PhD/career?

I've been bullied by my supervisor and other members of my research group for the past couple of years. Some of the things which have indicated bullying include snide remarks being made during group ...
Anonymous's user avatar
  • 379
37 votes
7 answers
10k views

What is the hardest part of transitioning from a PhD to a full-time career in academia?

Multiple users on this site have stated that only around 1 in 10 (or maybe an even smaller ratio) PhD students are able to successfully continue in academia, beginning with an Assistant Professor ...
user avatar
37 votes
6 answers
12k views

Is it OK to publish a book as an undergraduate?

I am a CS student at 4th year in my university. I have done a lot of real-world projects, worked as a freelancer for many years, and have released a lot of software in use by thousands of people. I ...
Madno's user avatar
  • 515
37 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it okay to send a thank-you-for-teaching to a professor who taught a course a few semesters ago?

In my first semester of Ph.D., I took a course about machine learning (ML), because I find it very fancy and interesting (however, my field of research is theoretical physics, far away from ML). The ...
Luqman Saleem's user avatar
37 votes
7 answers
5k views

How to prevent physical/psychological health side effects of workaholism in academia and research?

As a research student, I spend most of my time working on my research career, even when I am at home, I am awake until 3 or 4 A.M just doing my research-chores. As a matter of fact, long-term having ...
enthu's user avatar
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