successful "fakes" There are students, who appear to not have any depth of knowledge, who are nonetheless very successful at the undergraduate level. This is very disheartening for me. I want to call these people "fakes", but am I in the right for doing so? I want to understand: if these people get more opportunities in the end, then is academia doing its job? Is this just part of the reality that I should accept? Here's an anecdote. I go to a top 2 school in math. I'm taking a proof-based math class. I form a study group with two other people. This one person from my study group consistently shows up late to the sessions which we use to work on the problem set (late meaning the night before it's due: 12-1AM). Sometimes he can do some of the problems, some of the time he can't. He gives each problem maybe 30 minutes of thought (because at this point, it's too late to spend *too* much time on it), then asks us to explain it or searches for the solution online if he can't do it. I very clearly remember him making a comment which effectively meant that he really had no confidence in his reasoning. This person earned an A+ in the class. He was younger than both of us (by a year), had already taken a number of serious math courses, and was taking a heavy load. What am I supposed to make of this? Of course I'm jealous, but what I'm asking is: how *should* I react?