Questions tagged [academic-life]

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

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339
votes
17answers
57k 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 ...
117
votes
2answers
20k 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 ...
107
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8answers
17k 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 ...
91
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10answers
22k 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" ...
87
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5answers
5k 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 ...
81
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14answers
16k 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 ...
78
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11answers
21k 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 ...
78
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14answers
14k 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 ...
69
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9answers
14k 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 ...
68
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15answers
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 ...
68
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6answers
8k 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 ...
64
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10answers
14k 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 ...
64
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5answers
9k 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, ...
63
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10answers
18k 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 ...
62
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3answers
8k 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 "...
57
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9answers
12k 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 ...
56
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13answers
14k 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 ...
56
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11answers
14k 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 ...
55
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15answers
15k 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 ...
54
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8answers
9k 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 ...
54
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6answers
5k 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 ...
51
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14answers
7k 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 ...
50
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11answers
10k 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 ...
49
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7answers
11k 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 ...
48
votes
12answers
19k 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 ...
48
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7answers
4k 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 ...
47
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9answers
7k 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, ...
46
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5answers
5k 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, ...
45
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4answers
14k 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?
44
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6answers
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 ...
41
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5answers
14k 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 ...
40
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
39
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4answers
4k 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 ...
38
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6answers
10k 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 ...
36
votes
12answers
10k 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 ...
35
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
35
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5answers
4k views

Improving work conditions of student assistants, PhDs, Postdocs etc

I have been following threads on this website for a few months now. However it's my first time posting. I am a postdoctoral researcher from a Western European country who has done reasonably well ...
34
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4answers
13k views

I am interested in retracting my old journal articles. Would it have any negative effects on my academic career?

I managed to successfully publish my old bachelor thesis in a good quality national journal in my country. However, I am thinking of retracting the article due to certain circumstances. First, I felt ...
32
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11answers
7k views

Is it common for people in academia to experience prolonged lack of sleep and how to deal with it?

Stuck in the lab again, for the third night in a row. I have never done three in a row I think I might just break a record. I cannot sleep, because the lab is super crammed and uncomfortable and I am ...
32
votes
9answers
10k views

Why do people hang up papers on their doors?

This has been puzzling me for a long time, I have seen professors and other academic people hang up their research papers on their doors. What is the purpose of this? My first guess was they were ...
32
votes
7answers
8k views

Are political/ideological reasons for career moves acceptable in academia?

Suppose one is happy at one's institution until something happens that makes it impossible to stay given one's strong ideological beliefs. Is it a good idea to mention these beliefs if they are the ...
32
votes
8answers
12k views

What is the reason that once a student has passed a university course, the student cannot take the course again?

This question geared towards STEM but can definitely be expanded for courses in the arts as well. Imagine the following scenarios: A student has taken a course, but passed the course with barely a ...
31
votes
11answers
8k views

Why don't I want to learn anything? [closed]

I'm an undergraduate student, rising senior. I've been immersed in academia now since freshmen year, and I'd like to pursue a PhD in Computer Science in the future. I'm posting here because I just ...
31
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7answers
8k views

Have made several mistakes during the course of my PhD. Can't help but feel resentment. Can I get some advice about how to move forward?

I am about to defend my thesis. My PhD journey was not a pleasant experience. I worked in an area not within the field of expertise of my advisor. Though she was present to discuss; the conception, ...
31
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6answers
7k views

What do you wish you knew as a student before you became a researcher?

There are a number of lessons I learnt as an undergraduate which I wish somebody had told me much earlier. Although each of you learnt different lessons with different notions of which way is the ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do some individuals who are productive PhD students at leading Western institutions, then publish infrequently as faculty in their home country?

I am a computer science student from Turkey. While I was checking the websites and publications of various CS Professors in Turkey for my future studies, I noticed a strange trend. (Excluding minor ...
29
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2answers
4k views

Why don't professors give talks at their own departments?

Why don't professors give talks at seminars in their own departments? They travel to other schools to give talks, while seminars at their home departments consists of talks given by visitors. Is ...
29
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8answers
6k views

Is it okay if a PhD student's work seems insignificant compared to others'?

I am a theoretical computer science student working on algorithms. I am doubting myself a bit, as I have spent the last 6-7 months working on one problem. Although I am not able to solve the desired ...
28
votes
6answers
13k views

Why do academics drink so much coffee? [closed]

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems -- Alfréd Rényi All the universities whose staff lounges I've been to have had coffee machines with free coffee. I've seen groups name ...
28
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6answers
4k views

Do refreshments attract audience to seminars?

In academia, is there evidence that including phrases such as "refreshments provided" in a seminar announcement increases the average attendance (even slightly)?