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Academic world vs. Industry world April 1, 2006

Posted by jyu in Uncategorized.

Two different worlds, two divergent views…

In this PHD program, professors only view students who can produce research papers as valuable.  They value students who can perform complex mathmatical modeling and produce quality research results.  For students who can't meet the requirement normally drop out or wait to be fired from the program.  Those students would never receive any compliments, but only criticisms.  Professors would shoot you down on every aspects of your performance.  Nothing is ever sugar-coded.  You learn the reality in a brutal way.  There is no humanity around here (quoted from a student who is suffering).

Under this circumstance, you will see a group of students with no social life.  They don't social with anyone.  The only focus in their life is doing research (which might not be a bad thing as long as they are happy).  They don't share information.  They don't have time to help others out since they are too busy with their own researches.  The main goal for them is to product as many complex academic research papers as possible that only fewer people can understand, but will get them a good position in a high quality research university.  Those are the valuable students of the program.  Those are the professors of the future. 

Another group of students, normally the confused ones, absolutely hating the place,  always struggling to meet the minimum requirements, fearing of getting fired, mostly dropping out eventally as statistics showed.  There might be a couple of lucky ones that get pass the system with some unique approaches.  Of course, most of these students are the ones with working experience and quitting their job for a PHD degree.  With outside working experience, they might have more divergent views of doing researches. 

Coming from industry, it's really shocking in the beggining to see the other side of the world.  In a working environment, it's a custom to sugar-code everything.  You have to be sociable, willing to share information, willing to help other people, supporting other people, answering questions, solving problems for collegues or managers.  People will only stab you from the back.  You would never know who are your enemy until you are bleeding.  However, it's at your best interests to play the nice, friendly and helpful card to everyone around you.  At least, you are treated with humanity…

I don't have any slight fantacy to believe that I will become a valuable student for the program or I would produce a complicated research paper in the future.  The only goal is to survive and not being kick out for now…



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