Why should one become an academic?

You know what?  No one ever bothers to sell the academic path.  In all the time I’ve been in school, and even during my time in industry, no one has ever tried to tell me why I should want to become an academic.

There are a hell of a lot of blogs saying why one should abandon the path to academia, but not a single one that I could find saying “hey everyone, this is why I think academia is great”.  It’s as though everyone is born wanting to be an academic, and you only have to hear the other side to be convinced away from the natural academic leanings.

Of course, there’s a huge amount of competition for academic positions, so it isn’t exactly like people want to encourage incoming students to go down that path.  All that I see in searching the web is the balanced approach about weighing the two options – and that even assumes that all academia is the same, and all industry is the same.  (A blatant lie, if I ever heard one!)

Anyhow, the best I could do in putting together my list of why one should go into academia is in the following set of links.

If there are any academics out there who want to sell the academic path, this would be a great topic for future posts.  I’d love to read it.

As best as I can glean, the only reasons for it are “better working hours, once you become tenured” and “you can be your own boss”.   Seriously, there must be more to it than that!  Anyone?

6 thoughts on “Why should one become an academic?

    • Thanks – again, it’s in the style of “weigh one against the other”, which there is plenty of on-line. What I’m hoping to find is someone unabashedly promoting academia – really saying why that’s a great way to go. I’d love to hear the academic’s version of why it’s great to be an academic.

      Perhaps that’s just too much to ask.

      Anyhow, great link. Thanks for posting it!

  1. Do you like to teach? An academic lectures and guides students. An academic also gets to work with a wide range of people and explore new paths.

    • Thanks for the feedback – that professors teach and do research is a good point, which often gets forgotten by researchers considering careers.

      And, for the record, I do love to teach, albeit I’ve rarely had the opportunity to do so in a formal setting, having only TA’d one class. I do have to admit that my reservations about teaching stem from the fact that I try to hold my students to the high standard of actually learning something, and simultaneously find plagiarism to be entirely disgusting – which probably means I wouldn’t do so well as a university professor.

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