Is Academia Worth It?


If you are anything like me, you might be wondering if academia is worth it. Is it really worth all of the trouble.

Few studies after get published in ‘good’ journals. Of these, only a handful ever make a large impact in academia. Of these, only a handful only impact the larger society. Most of the ideas we invest our time in may have unforeseen gaps and shortcomings, and that results from the data we’ve gathered for years might not provide the insights we expected. If at all. 

If you’re a researcher in academia, why put yourself through all the trouble when you can find jobs with much higher pay and more flexible hours instead. That being said, the question still remains… 

Is Academia Still Worth?

The only answer is yes. Why? To further understand this, we need to look at the bigger picture. If you want to watch a video about whether academia is worth it, check out:

Academia is hard. But, that is the point. We are going to get stuck and things are not going to work out as planned. We have to appreciate the bigger picture of those who have gone before us.

As we appreciate where science and technology has brought us today, we also need to acknowledge every contribution each researcher has brought to the table. From the groundbreaking discoveries of the century, to the solutions in the most niche fields of modern day science.

Every experiment, every data point generated, processed, and analyzed that you chose to share to the scientific community adds to the body of knowledge we have collected since humans learned how to transcribe ideas into paper.

As professors, academics, and students, we’ve voluntarily enlisted ourselves to this discovery and search. Everybody else before us has had the slow push, as well. You are a part of a system that was assigned the duty of discovering, inventing, and creating knowledge. Each researcher is a vital to propel us forward and that is something you should be proud of. 

Not everyone wants to spend their life constantly trying to learn and create things in academia but to the few that do, you should remember to be kind to yourselves and accept that learning takes a lot of time and patience.

It is easy to disregard your own works in the grand scheme of things but you should always remind yourself that your work transcends your own desire to succeed but instead a part of a much bigger purpose. Personally, I consider my work as the rent I pay to enjoy the things that came from the work of all the researchers before me. 

The Value Of Your Work

We have made several metrics designed to measure the impact of a particular research, such as “impact factors.” These metrics, while serving the purpose they were designed to do, should not dictate how you look at the value of your work.

Yes, you might worry about funding, but you need to remind yourself everyday that this is not about ‘getting the money,’ but is about discovery. Not every experiment and paper you’ll submit will be a ‘hit’. However, you have to be well aware that it is quite amazing to live in a time where nations pay a hefty amount of money to let us pursue our own ideas.

Further, while not all research may have the potential of solving global problems or influence day-to-day life. Doing science for the sake of science itself is valuable on its own. For, at its core, research is just an outlet of creativity.

It is through the cumulative efforts of each work that we are able to make an enormous leap in science. So don’t falter if you think your field is not as prestigious as the rest.  As long as you are vigorously resolved in solving the problems within your reach, that is more than enough. For the best discoveries of mankind can come from the most unlikely of places.

To learn how much your country spends on R&D visit:

http://uis.unesco.org/apps/visualisations/research-and-development-spending/

Being Grateful For Researchers

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for getting up every morning to try the things that have never been tried, to investigate the things that have never been investigated, and to say the things that have never been said before.

For the professors and experts in the field, thank you for sharing your talents to the world and nurturing the leaders of the future. For those who are still in the early stages of their careers in academe, thank you for taking on the challenge of tackling the world’s problems. All your works are vital in shaping a better future. The world is fortunate to have your service and we are eternally grateful. 

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