Perspective Piece on “In Defense of Grad school: Let us now praise this much-maligned institution” by Vikrant Dadwala

As I read this article, I noticed how similar Vikrant’s graduate school experience is to mine. Like Vikrant, I was enthused to resume my academic career as a graduate assistant. And just like him, I was extremely grateful for a chance to engage in what I assumed would be ambitious and impactful research projects. Likewise, I too experienced gradual disillusionment – first because I learned that intellectual prowess and virtue are mutually exclusive in a few of the faculty I once hoped to emulate, and secondly because I did not find some of the research to be as impactful as I imagined it would be. This was due in part to the incessant pressure to publish, perhaps even at the cost of quality and impact. Frustrations were compounded by the derisive attitude that permeates some academic cultures, cultures in which being uninviting is almost celebrated. Navigating such a precarious academic journey was helped by an advantageous background the author and I share. We both hail from burgeoning, albeit still developing, countries. Despite the deconstruction of our high expectations from academia and even aspects of Western culture, that academic achievement is highly sought after and widely celebrated in our respective countries has helped us persevere. Taking off the rose-colored lenses through which I once viewed academia was still unpleasant. But perseverance, a focus on why I joined academia, and the friendships I have made within it have neutralized the cynicism engendered by my negative experiences. There were other contributing factors, but it turns out we can endure almost anything when we find a worthy cause

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *