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Academia has been hijacked?

  1. Aug 26, 2013 #1
    In recent time, I feel as if all academia has been hijacked by the social aspect.

    Am I the only one who feels this way?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2013 #2


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    Can you explain what you mean?
  4. Aug 26, 2013 #3
    Well, I mean that the paste is much slower in class, and that they have turned less rigorous.

    As if there is no zeal in actually learning, exploring sciences.

    Everyone wants to yak about irrelevant social life in a place of learning.
  5. Aug 26, 2013 #4


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    Sounds like that is more a problem with your classes, I'd talk to the teacher if they can't control the class.
  6. Aug 26, 2013 #5


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    Perhaps I'm being presumptuous but you seem to be referring to the importance placed on socialising whilst enrolled at university rather than academia as a whole focusing on social issues. If this is the case them firstly I don't see this as anything new (I'm young though so may be wrong but I've heard a range of stories about university antics all throughout recent history) and secondly they are largely orthogonal. It's perfectly easy, and healthy, to have a good social as well as work life.

    Again maybe I'm being presumptuous but are you the type of person that wants to spend as many hours possible studying a day? If so then that difference is the source of your contention, not that academia is being eroded.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  7. Aug 26, 2013 #6
    Personally I am not that type but think I understand the position of the OP. I've gone to study groups where the time became socializing with little work being done the night before a test.

    In my first linear algebra class of 300+ students I saw kids messaging, txting, and even silently playing video games. From the Professors perspective I am sure it all seemed fine but from back in the rows... I had never seen anything like it. Community college had more academic rigor.
  8. Aug 26, 2013 #7
    Newton was appalled by the lack of seriousness of his fellow students, who did a lot of drinking and card playing, and he shunned their company. It was his good luck to run into one, but only one, student he found as serious as himself. They didn't exactly become close friends, but they realized it would be advantageous to share an apartment, mostly to avoid having to share with party types.

    If the problem goes back to Newton's time, I would wager it goes back to the very beginning of institutions of learning.
  9. Aug 26, 2013 #8

    People have never changed. Society has never changed. There was something written by Plato where he complained that "children are getting worse and worse every year". If that were true, we'd all be serial killers by now.

    Nothing has changed in academia. As a matter of fact with the internet and technology, it's probably improved if anything.
  10. Aug 26, 2013 #9
    Also, I have a 3.75, 3.95 major GPA. I hang out with friends; drink, smoke, etc. I have a job on campus with the math department as well grading homework. You can meet people and hang out with others and still be serious. I love math and physics and am serious about it. I just can have a social life too.
  11. Aug 26, 2013 #10
    I honestly understand what you are saying. What you say is boldly true. I am the type of person that studies for hours on hours. I do not socialize about irrelevant topics.

    Thinking of it, I do not talk about anything that does not concern me. Like shows, music, etc.

    I have always thought it was me, but was not sure.

    Are there any physics students in the Bay Area?
  12. Aug 26, 2013 #11
    That's profound. I guess I just have to accept that a few minds think alike.
  13. Aug 26, 2013 #12


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    --Socrates (supposedly, but as Abraham Lincoln said, you can't trust quotes you find on the internet :biggrin:)
  14. Aug 26, 2013 #13
    Reading this makes me think you're pretty young. How old are you? You'll change your outlook as you age, and this bolded statement will be pretty cringey TBH.
  15. Aug 26, 2013 #14
    I am 27.
  16. Aug 26, 2013 #15
    Ahh, thanks. Yes, Socrates.

    And I smirked a bit, thanks. :approve:
  17. Aug 26, 2013 #16
    I guess what might set me out is how much I value education. I am from India, and went to school in Pakistan.

    I think that is why I value education so much. Too seriously.

    I come to the Bay Area for a 1 year now, and I attend English class--not what I imagined from a country that inspired me so much.
  18. Aug 26, 2013 #17
    What school do you go to? I am from the Bay Area.

    The reason why your English class is not what you imagined is because you're probably in remedial English (because you are a non-native speaker). You are in the same classes as American students that are in remedial English. For you, it's understandable, but for the students that are born here, they're there because they are unmotivated.

    You haven't grown up in America, and have the same level of English mastery as someone who did. Visit upper div or graduate English classes and I'm sure you'll find much different people.
  19. Aug 27, 2013 #18
    I have attended several community and state and private colleges in the region. The one that I at now is Chabot. .
  20. Aug 27, 2013 #19
    I don't know what it's like in India. Here, in the U.S., education up through high school is required by law. It's forced on us from a young age. Therefore, it's very easy to take it for granted, and to consider it a burden rather than a privilege. College, while it's not required by law, is never-the-less pushed on people with the threat that without a college degree, they won't be able to get a good job. It all runs on force and pressure. Not really surprising that a lot of people react by fooling around and partying as much as they can get away with.

    I'm curious: is any amount of education required by law in India?
  21. Aug 27, 2013 #20


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    'Paste' is something like a thick liquid. The word you are looking for is 'pace'.
  22. Aug 27, 2013 #21


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    Make no mistake, the professors know very well what is going on. It is often simpler just to ignore it and focus on the students that are actually listening.
  23. Aug 27, 2013 #22
    Thank you for the correction.

    No, education is not required in India, but is heavily desired by the elders for their youth.

    The youth mostly listen to their parents, and if they are fortunate enough to have the mobility and little money it takes not to have a helping hand, they take it.

    Education is something that people boast. It is a luxury.
  24. Aug 27, 2013 #23
    A quick google leads me to this depressing information:


    The wiki article on the history of education in the U.S. paints a picture of a country where there was always strong pressure from some important organization for widespread public education, leading finally up to:

    And then:


    That latter argument seems to have proven completely true. To the extent the government of India has not seen the massive proportion of its population now languishing in extreme poverty as potential "human capitol" that should be educated to participate in the economic modernization of India, it has stalled India's ability to enter into the "First World".

    At the same time the average American would probably object to being conceived of as "human capitol," and wants to party as much as possible, we also are always aware that the alternative is unthinkable: people in Calcutta slums are neither partying nor enjoying the confidence of knowing where their next meal is coming from.

    Easy for me to say, because I know precious little about India, but it seems to me a goal should be put in place to insure every Indian receives at least an elementary education; to learn to read and write and do basic arithmetic. That would be a start.

    Perhaps that won't happen until India's government leaders are educated about the U.S. educational system and what made it so successful relative to others.
  25. Aug 27, 2013 #24
    Maybe a way to counter such behavior would be to take some interesting sidetracks like current topics related to the course. That's easier in physics etc.
    More important is to make it part of examinations or whatever kind of grading is used. Like a small question about those sidetracks.

    In that way the students (or at least the students I've been following lectures with) could/should be encouraged to do some extra research if there's time for that. Maybe even ask some questions later on in the course if they found some spare time.

    I believe this could work. The best course I've had was given by a professor that used very little printed materials. He would give out a print out of the slides he would use but that's it. Other than that he only used the blackboard and we would have nothing else.
    Very often he'd wander of to whatever was relative to the discussion was.

    Some other professors, I've noticed, seem to be teaching because they have to. One of those teachers was responsible for an analysis course concerning sequences and series. Because it was difficult (1st year course) and we couldn't ask questions, I stopped going to the lectures and did the whole thing on my own in the library with some extra references.(As did a few others)
    This is the other side of the spectrum. This would, in my opinion, encourage the behavior described in previous posts.

    Towards infinite.curve, I wouldn't say it's solely the student's fault, the teacher could have something to do with it.
  26. Aug 27, 2013 #25


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    What do you mean you couldn't ask questions?

    The teacher did not allow you to?

    That's preposterous!
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