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lainchan archive - /sci/ - 177



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No.177

How do you feel about the state of academia as a whole right now?

I go to school in the U.S and find myself becoming increasingly frustrated at the quality of our education. It seems like very few of my classmates have similar thirsts for knowledge and research that I do, while the rest are doing it to get a piece of paper to go into the workforce.

Now I don't particularly think there's anything wrong with wanting the latter, but the education system here has become increasingly tailored towards those people. As a result it feels like University has become nothing more than a machine to spit out employees on one end, and a handful of academics on the other which often seem to fall through the cracks of a decaying ivory tower - all while amassing millions of dollars that ends up being spent on pointless trash. My school seems to be a prototypical example of this, with the coach of our football team getting paid upwards of a million per year and new buildings going up everywhere; meanwhile little has been done to expand the actual resources available to researchers here, and almost every department that isn't medicine or law seems to be struggling.

At the same time, the extreme artificial difficulty of classes placed on students causes way too many of us to suffer mentally and physically as a result. I can't express how pointless it is to force students to constantly regurgitate knowledge on timed exams which are often carefully engineered by professors to guarantee some sort of standard distribution of scores. Add this on top of the external stresses we all seem to face: financial, social, personal, and it's no surprise that most of us are depressed and/or anxious. Why should education make us feel worthless? Why can't we just learn for the sake of learning, instead of being ranked and judged and having to virtually compete against one another? Why should you need a paper to prove that you know something?

I could go on, but I'd rather hear other people's opinions.

  No.179

>How do you feel about the state of academia as a whole right now?
I feel that it's rather poor. I realized in my high school years that, despite being told the opposite, I was actually learning much of nothing. Every interesting question I asked would be dismissed with the idea that the later stages of education, university, would answer them.
Not wanting to waste my life waiting, I took my learning into my own hands and ensured I'd be learning of what interested me. I've read nonfiction almost exclusively ever since.
My university years were more disappointing than my highschool years. Rote memorization without explanation seems to be the norm across the country. Creative work was limited to subjective opinions.

It is a disappointing and absurdly expensive circus designed to filter for the workforce, in part due to laws restricting certain hiring practices. For almost anything, one would be much, much better off reading books written by knowledgeable people.

>I go to school in the U.S and find myself becoming increasingly frustrated at the quality of our education. It seems like very few of my classmates have similar thirsts for knowledge and research that I do, while the rest are doing it to get a piece of paper to go into the workforce.

That was also my impression. Math education is perhaps the most disappointing, but this is simply my view. All of the subjects are treated rather poorly and either misguide students or simply omit anything interesting and insightful.

>Now I don't particularly think there's anything wrong with wanting the latter, but the education system here has become increasingly tailored towards those people. As a result it feels like University has become nothing more than a machine to spit out employees on one end, and a handful of academics on the other which often seem to fall through the cracks of a decaying ivory tower - all while amassing millions of dollars that ends up being spent on pointless trash. My school seems to be a prototypical example of this, with the coach of our football team getting paid upwards of a million per year and new buildings going up everywhere; meanwhile little has been done to expand the actual resources available to researchers here, and almost every department that isn't medicine or law seems to be struggling.

You've recognized the farce. It's disappointing to read of how the difference in education was even one hundred years ago. We currently live in a society that treats education as a pay stub and considers it improper that an individual have an education and work a job that doesn't have them wasting their life for money.

>At the same time, the extreme artificial difficulty of classes placed on students causes way too many of us to suffer mentally and physically as a result. I can't express how pointless it is to force students to constantly regurgitate knowledge on timed exams which are often carefully engineered by professors to guarantee some sort of standard distribution of scores. Add this on top of the external stresses we all seem to face: financial, social, personal, and it's no surprise that most of us are depressed and/or anxious.

I was rather miserable in my university years, mostly due to this drivel.

>Why should education make us feel worthless? Why can't we just learn for the sake of learning, instead of being ranked and judged and having to virtually compete against one another? Why should you need a paper to prove that you know something?

I believe we live in a world meant to suppress most of humanity. It's easier to deceive a population of miserable people toiling their lives away on pointless tasks than a population of educated people doing meaningful work that makes them happy.

Perhaps the single most important lessons some gain from the modern education system is that one must take their education into their own hands to actually learn and that the pointless nature of large bureaucracy pervades most of our society and needlessly degrades us.

Access to the large libraries was nice. Despite the mess of an education system, I'm still very glad I live in a time where it's possible for me to educate myself.

I regret not going in more depth with this response. You've hit the nail on the head for the most part. There doesn't seem to be much to say.

  No.180

>>177
>>179
> I go to school in the U.S and find myself becoming increasingly frustrated at the quality of our education. It seems like very few of my classmates have similar thirsts for knowledge and research that I do, while the rest are doing it to get a piece of paper to go into the workforce.
>I feel that it's rather poor. I realized in my high school years that, despite being told the opposite, I was actually learning much of nothing. Every interesting question I asked would be dismissed with the idea that the later stages of education, university, would answer them.
>Not wanting to waste my life waiting, I took my learning into my own hands and ensured I'd be learning of what interested me. I've read nonfiction almost exclusively ever since.
>My university years were more disappointing than my highschool years. Rote memorization without explanation seems to be the norm across the country. >Creative work was limited to subjective opinions.

Isn't that education and not the academia?(While I agree that those two are very close)

  No.182

>>180
Education and academia are totally different things.

Education is about learning things which are already known. Academia is about learning things which are not known.

  No.183

American here,

It seems that the "no child left behind act" is just pushing kids through high school now, even dumbing down curriculum in a lot of high schools, which seems to have an effect on the curriculum of public universities/colleges, as the students going into them are not prepared. I myself even struggle with the most basics of maths because my last math class was in 8th grade.. Algebra 1. High school has become a fuarrrking joke and it's effecting everything else. :/

  No.184

>>183
to be fair, high school education nowadays is a lot more comprehensive than what anyone got in the 70s.

  No.192

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You all don't know how lucky you are: at least you all can be in touch with high level researches, go to a good library with all the books and papers you need and educate yourselves with high level material.

You know, there are countries whose situation is worst than yours, mine (Mexico) for instance: I got my bachelor's degree (mathematics) in my university's engineering department (there is no a science department) and here our "education" is as follows:
>teacher arrives
>teacher copypastes everything wrote in our textbook
>you take notes (until you realize how useless it is)
>If you have any question you must solve it yourself
>exam
>uroboros

Several times I asked my teachers for help on some questions about topics I was interested on and got answers like these:
>I'm glad you asked yourself those questions
>You should read this (very basic) book
>I think you are beating around the bush
And the worst:
>Oh, so you have an idea

There was no material in our library, and this library desappeared in order to put there desks for postgradute students whose only concern is getting their scholarship at the end of the mont, and whose"researches" are shameless copies of something already done; thousands of dollars (yes we are poor) are assigned to their useless proyects, like a soykafty and huge fan (wind turbine) that has never moved in the three years since it was build; but we, mathematicias, got nothing since our platonic world does not need any money. Postgraduate students are not affected by their bad grades since that would mean university would lost its "high quality" education certificate. Our internet connection is soykaf and cannot download all the papers from sciencedirect. We have no scopus service and there are no researchers we can talk with; and the people in charge of reading our protocols have no idea what they are reading. Our thesis directors have no work to do but sign the document where he say he is sure about we getting our degree... oh, he also gives you your thesis topic, but solving it is your problem and only your problem... there would be no problem with this if we had the resources at had, but since we have nothing...

>btw

None of these postgradute "researches" has in mind being a full time researcher, but getting a paper for a better job or even only for bragging about it (since people think it is hard getting this trash).

In my case, I wanted to be a teacher, but I cannot get a job since I'm too young (26), and in order to be a teacher it's necessary 3 or 5 years of experience as a teacher. The same with all the jobs.

  No.197

The quality is low, but education is a balance. Do you educate all at the expense of producing lower quality? or do you educate the few at the expense of equal opportunity.

Equality of opportunity has troubles of its own, but its arguably much better than equality of outcome. or worse yet, complete inequality where all are valuated effectively at random.

I do not much like the tune the education system is playing either, and i agree it could use a tune up, or a complete rebuild, but it has served our society well in the last century and may continue to do so, given the resources and time to adapt. We just need some fresh motivated minds to restructure and revitalize the existing architecture, and then build a brave new world atop it.

  No.198

>>197
im in the US btw.

  No.200

>>197
>Do you educate all at the expense of producing lower quality? or do you educate the few at the expense of equal opportunity.
false dichotomy.

  No.209

File: 1477784547670.png (3.22 MB, 150x200, attempt at a dream by a great man.png)

>>192
Glad you realized "superior" education is soykaf in the third world, so tell me what are you going to do now? you gonna keep whining to deaf ears expecting the change to come or you goin' to use the material of other places to make the change yourself with the help of people who think like you?
fuarrrk their way mang, that's the only answer.

  No.216

>>192
You're getting it wrong, try getting in touch with actual teachers to get advice on how to start teaching, and talk to older students that can tell you where the good professors are and attend to their classes instead.

>in order to be a teacher it's necessary 3 or 5 years of experience as a teacher

You start as a sidekick teacher, I think it's called "ayudante de cátedra", you can do that with just good grades and being in touch with teachers. They might even get in touch with you. Friends of mine were offered teaching positions in a highschool because they were doing good in their first year in college. I'm talking about community college in another LatAm country. In exact sciences careers here they give you an intermediate title when you're halfway through third year, that title can grant you teacher position. Do you have something like that in your college?
In the meantime you can give particular classes to highschool students and you can bring that up as experience if you are interviewed for an ayudante position.

For the institutional problems like the internet connection, bring your complains up through some student organisation. They usually know a lot about how the place works and are happy to help. Just find one that's not in bed with the dean or stuff like that.

I think you have two ways to go, if you like solid advice you can do as the other anon said and
>fuarrrk their way mang
if you think the place is too focused on engineering and research has no place. You wouldn't be helping yourself/other students that way.
But what I think you're missing is that in college you have to be involved with people if you want to have a good time during those years (and afterwards if you do research). You don't sit down and do what you're told like it's highschool, instead you must be in touch with the younger professors (they're usually cool people, unlike the ones who've been there for 40 years), frequent student groups and ask questions, study with other people instead of asking the prof, go play futbol with older students (aka the youngest teachers), immerse yourself in. Otherwise you won't get to do interesting research as a job if you only follow instructions. I know you're not 18 but you sound like you don't grok that. Good luck.

  No.242

I believe the state of the education system has become pretty much irrelevant by now. If you want to learn stuff, there's an infinite amount resources on the internet about it.
People who really care have an easy way to teach themselves everything they want to know and people who don't have easy ways to get their sheets of paper to get a job. Everyone wins, no one looses.

  No.243

>>242
But whether that information is available or not is also irrelevant to education, especially in early stages where kids don't even know how to get it.

IMO the early stages are what''s important, but really we can't know what to do until the psychology on the subject is more thoroughly understood.

  No.254

>>200
sorry about that. will be more careful next time.

  No.268

>>177
this "paper can prove that you know something" is pretty silly too

  No.273

>>268
you get a piece of paper for almost anything you accomplish tho