Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Conversation

FLG: How do Bertrand and Cournot competition models inform this subject?

Professor: That's a great question. More research is probably needed in that area.

FLG: You don't know what I'm talking about, do you?

Professor: No.


Anonymous said...

You sure you will never want a recommendation from that guy? Well, you never want one NOW, anyway. dave.s.

FLG said...

Not admitting when you don't know something is a BIG deal for me. I'm a decently informed individual. So, I don't expect every professor to know more than me in every field, or even in tangentially related fields. Just say, you know, that doesn't come up that much in the field. Therefore, I'd guess they don't inform the issue very much.

The Ancient said...

This just shows how different grad school is from the rest of the academic system.

Ancient: Nephew, tell me. What do you do to get an A?

Nephew: I figure out what the teacher wants and give it to him.

Ancient: Good!

h/t Conan the Barbarian

FLG said...

I've never cared that much about getting As. I care more about learning stuff, which is why as ask questions like the one I mentioned. It's also why I get pissed when somebody bullshits me.

The Ancient said...

1) In my experience, a glittering academic record is invaluable in life.* (Not least if you want to keep going to school.)

2) Did I say anything at all about learning stuff? I don't think so. With any luck, in twenty years time, 90% of what you know -- and care about -- will be something you learned only after you left school behind.

3) "Getting pissed off about things that don't matter is bad for you. Just as getting pissed off about things you cannot possibly affect is pointless." (From The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Revised Standard Edition.)
*Stuart Taylor still gets compliments/ribbing about his performance at HLS -- even from Supreme Court justices. (Of course, someone with a similar record at the same school abandoned the law in his thirties after he invented what became known as "The Clapper." So generalizations are dangerous.)

FLG said...

See, that's my entire point...the more glittering the academic record, the more likely the person is a tool. And by tool I mean one or more of the following: 1) a huge sycophant, 2) a seriously risk averse person, 3) a purely deterministic thinker who lacks creative thoughts, and 4) somebody who is entirely cynical and wants to be successful so bad they can taste it.

I accept that not playing that game, although I do to some extent, has hurt me. It's true that the way to get an A is to find out what the teacher wants and to give it to them, but oftentimes I'm comfortable taking the A-/B+ and giving them what I want to give them.

Andrew Stevens said...

Quite a generalization there. Although I'm actually willing to cop to 2 and possibly 3.

Anonymous said...

2! I'm a 2! it's not so bad, being two-ish. dave.s.

The Ancient said...

Withy, Alpheus, arethusa, Professor Mondo --

What do you think?

Withywindle said...

I don't particularly buy the Myth of the Frustrated Genius. I've tended to get bad grades when I'm bad at subjects, not because I'm underappreciated. What with grade inflation, at every level "A" means "barely adequate." When we get beyond grades, I wouldn't presume that Ivy League profs are more likely to be conformist hacks than their competition.

FLG said...

It isn't a frustrated genius thing.

For me, I think it's an authority issue. If a professor wants people to use some framework in some particular way, then partially out of spite but mostly out of curiosity, I'll use it in some slightly different way or circumstances.

FLG said...

Just so you all know, I'm fully aware that the most likely reason I didn't get an A in any particular class is that I was either lazy or stupid. Well, at least relatively lazy or stupid, because many of my classes at G'Town were graded on a curve with a B mean.

arethusa said...

I'm late to commenting, and bet none of you will ever read this because of that, but FLG's schema of successful academic types is pretty much what I would say.

I do think Classics departments and majors have a reputation for being tough because learning classical languages is still objective. Either you know how to conjugate amo, amas, or you don't. I also suspect that this may explain some of the decline in foreign language enrollments in general.

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