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Productivity, Burnout, and Survival of the Fittest

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Solfege, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    As @Mordecai and @Nazgus raised in TOMD, there's a phenomenon at prestige American institutions of a puritanical work ethic, where students feel like they have to be "on" at all times. Pushing hard, pushing constantly. Every hour of every day to be optimised in a constant search for personal enrichment, growth, productivity.

    A lifetime of blind conditioning underlies this. These students have had 18 years of helicopter parenting out of 1) certain fortunate working-class circles with high collegiate ambitions and 2) upper-mid class circles terrified that their kids will be downwardly mobile. Because downward mobility is so much deadlier than ever.

    There's also the culture of moral and career expectations. The highest paying, white collar professions in America demand 60+ hours at a minimum, be it law, medicine, or banking. Silicon Valley startups and many prestige software firms have similar expectations. If you're successful, you deserve that success.

    What we have is a generation of elite children whose entire childhood from near-birth is one long, extended preparation for their professional careers. The pressure can be intense. I remember some of the highest-achieving students at my university scoff at banking — 100 - 120 hour weeks as a lowly analyst? We did that for years as chemical engineering students, and on much more challenging material than excel models.

    This isn't to discount the hardships that many ordinary Americans have; if you're attending school while pregnant or having to support your parents and siblings, any of a number of volatile life events that more privileged meritocrats will never experience, power to you and good luck. But those pressurised who take advantage of their fortune can achieve like you're likely never to. As an acquaintance put it:
    It doesn't always pan out well, of course. There's much toxic and superficial about the system. Recently from the NYT:

    Screenshot 2019-04-02 16.38.09.png
    Screenshot 2019-04-02 16.38.30.png

    It leads to such ridiculousness as by this NYU and Villanova Law grad:

    [​IMG]

    This point of this thread is to commiserate over "always being on," which we can all relate to on some level given social media habits. Comments on workaholism are welcome: critiques, observations, tips on coping [that article on attention management was great, if people want to discuss it further].

    This phenom isn't just American; any child whose sole focus was being "groomed" for prestige experiences has likely dealt similarly. Students at Harbin University of Technology, the so-called "Chinese Berkeley", are sure to feel as Nazgus does.

    More broadly, burnout seems to be a thing in the times we live in, where everyone and anyone feels the need to have a side-hustle or two. If you just want to contrast with your own experiences or societal expectations and how retarded it can get, please do!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  2. Arthellion

    Arthellion Dark Lord

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    This is anecdotal, but one thing I’ve noticed in students is that for all their hard work ethic and preparation, so few of them know how to take initiative beyond just the last task they were told to accomplish.

    For all their accomplishments, they lack confidence.

    Another factor to consider on this is the high rate of depression and suicide attempts.
     
  3. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Correct me if the stereotype is completely wrong, but I'm fascinated and frankly a bit terrified of this trope that often pops up in American movies where choosing a college is the biggest deal ever and there's a multi-page application, a CV full of extracurriculars on top of acing every class, plus volunteer work outside school, an essay, and essentially a job interview for the privilege of attending a school you'll be paying for anyway.

    Now, maybe this is the secret sauce of American entrepreneurship and excellence on the world stage. You certainly don't hear about Polish billionares founding companies that change the face of the Internet or inventing things that shake entire industries. Those Americans who put in all of this work into excelling certainly enrich the world, humanity, and me by extension.

    I wouldn't last a week at an American university, you guys are insane. Here, you just have to go to class and pass the required exams. No obligation to be tuned into "university life". University life hardly exists at all. We go to school to study, and then we have a life outside the school campus.
     
  4. VanRopen

    VanRopen Order Member

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    Yeah, sorry - this is gonna just be a bunch of salt, but your post brought it to mind.

    Go to r/medicalschool at any point and you'll see a fair few memes about "wellness lectures". It blows my fucking mind, but that's an actual thing administrators in the last couple years thought was a good idea. You have students burning out because they spent their whole lives working to get past the medical school applications process only to get into med school and then have to keep up with the crazy balls to the wall workload AND start preparing for the residency applications process. Instead of assessing what about this process is so messed up that we've seen an uptick in suicides in students/the profession, or at least just talking about these insane schedules and whether they really are the most efficient way to produce doctors, administrations decide to lecture people on wellness and the importance thereof.

    Because that makes sense. People have too much to do and are under immense pressure to constantly be "productive", so let's add something more for them to do where we talk about the importance of taking time for yourself. Thank god my institution doesn't have any mandatory sessions, but I have friends at institutions which do and it's the most mind-numbing bullshit imaginable.


    There's something deeply wrong with recognizing that an institution is somehow toxic, and then turning around and just...absorbing and institutionalizing the very criticism of that toxicity - never mind doing so in a way that adds to the burden. But that's exactly what medical schools have done. Very little has been openly discussed about the flaws of the application process, or the pressure leading into board exams, or the disregard for students during clerkships. Instead they've flipped the issue and turned "wellness" into something else where the onus is on the students.
     
  5. Arthellion

    Arthellion Dark Lord

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    @ScottPress There are essentially five levels of college in the USA.

    Elite(which have their own categories), these are the stereotypes you see.

    State: these are the flagship universities of the state. Typically heavy on sports and traditional college life.admissions are not necessarily hard but they can be picky depending.


    Local Liberal Arts: this is similar to the state, but less well funded. Smaller than the state but still generally solid scholarship. Accept anyone.

    Community college: cheapest option. Generally easy classes and most people use them for core before transferring to a local or state.

    Tech: these are specialty colleges. Generally two years that teach a trade.

    This article does a good job explaining why people don’t have to aim for the elite.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/opinion/state-universities.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur
     
  6. Solfege

    Solfege Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    For many, it definitely feels like the most important decision they'll ever make. It's honestly not, unless they're applying across different tiers of schools, where the returns to networking at any top school compared to networking at a lesser tier of school can be career-defining.... If you come from a less privileged background and were more focused on academic achievements though, you're likely not to be as good a networker, and your lack of networking ability leads to about equivalent outcomes as if you went anywhere else:
    Bear in mind that much of the obsession is over elite and regionally elite colleges, which make up a minuscule portion of American colleges overall (we have thousands of them... our rankings list only the top 200 or so).

    The interview is optional, tends to be a relaxed affair. Generally won't hurt your chances to take one, but won't necessarily help you either. Funny story: I remember a classmate interviewing with an alum from UChicago where he ended by asking her about her time there. She looked into the ether blankly and told him she remembered crying every single night her first year [UC motto: Where Fun Goes To Die].

    It's not, at least not directly. Only 11% of Fortune 500 CEOs come from elite colleges, just as 11% are college dropouts. The vast majority of American students don't experience the full package of what I wrote about, I think. It's an experience which, in any case, leads largely to checking boxes and taking the safe route, as opposed to original, experimental thinking.

    That said, if you want to take advantage of the amazing resources available at our heavy-hitting research powerhouses, which really are a core strategic engine of the US economy as you make out, it's available to you. From the same earlier acquaintance:


    @VanRopen Administrators can be toxic, absolutely, and their first instinct runs to further institutionalisation [and covering their asses]. There needs to be a fundamental rethink on how we educate doctors, which I know the med student community has been wrestling with the past few years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  7. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    The stereotype is essentially correct. The exact particulars you laid out there vary wildly depending on exactly what school you're trying to get into, with what you're describing being more-or-less the norm for the top-tier schools like Harvard, Yale, etc.
     
  8. Silirt

    Silirt Professor DLP Supporter

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    I'm on my last year of college. My friend and I are monsters; I've taken 157 hours and he's taken 163, which includes a semester long trip to China(He wants to be a tea sourcer now. I went to Chile, but that was only a month for Spanish) and we accomplished this by taking 18 hours(the maximum where we go to school, though you could sometimes get an override and take more) every semester where it was possible(sometimes you have conflicts and classes with irregular numbers of hours). I'm under the impression degrees are mostly screening mechanisms in that having one means you could get one, not that you know whatever you're supposed to know, which is why no one apparently loses any sleep over how much we forget every semester. The application process was a nightmare, but I managed to get a scholarship that was good enough to where we didn't need any financial aid.
     
  9. Lindsey

    Lindsey Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    This is a recently new phenomenon that started within the last decade. Even in the early 2000s, a university was far more like what you described than what it is now.

    I was probably one of the last years before the hammer fully dropped, and I entered college in 2010. I don't think I could have handled starting University today.

    Until recently, it was not uncommon for someone to graduate with a C average and be able to enter a decent state school with a minimal amount of debt. Even in the early 2000s, University was relatively reasonable, and it was not uncommon for a new student to party it up the first two years, before straightening up, entering their degree program and graduate with a degree that was worth something and very little debt. Yes, you had the ivy league schools and certain career paths that required more... but you knew what you were getting into when you went those routes. For the average person, college was a social and fun place.

    Things started to change around the recession. People began to realize that getting a degree was almost necessary to have a decent life. The demand for going to university skyrocketed, but the supply did not. This prompted Universities to increase the prices. Add in the fact that many third world countries started having growing middle classes (aka China), who would pay an extreme amount of money to get their children educated... and you end up with almost every college having thousands of more applicants than spaces.

    Suddenly, your high school grades did matter. No longer were you competing with people who had C's but A's. It became more than just grades, but activities, languages, sports and more. Just being bad at one subject may mean not getting your spot in your dream school... or the scholarship you need.

    And even if you did get into university, the challenge did not stop there. With more students, it meant you needed to apply to get into the school for your degree. You can't start slacking off now. For some degree tracks, such as the University of Washington's computer science department, you need an average of a 3.8 (out of 4.0) to even think about acceptance.

    It's not that hard to get a B+ in most courses... but the amount of work it takes to get to an A is phenomenal. No screwups, no failing one exam. Everything matters. I am one of those people that was satisfied with a B+ or A-. I had no desire to spend 2x the time to increase my grade a tad. Nowadays, that mentality is almost unacceptable.

    Then you add in the cost of attending these schools. For a lot of students, they need to work a full-time job to survive. Right there, you are looking at 80+ weeks. It's awful. And people wonder why children and young adults are becoming increasingly suicidal.

    You are beginning to see a push back with the younger generations, or the feeling of failure and just giving up. My sister is one of those. She was a straight A student, but as she entered high school, her grades began to fall. At first, it was getting sick, and hanging out a bit too often with her friends, but then she realized just those few bad grades meant she had to try even harder to succeed. She got so stressed out, she shut down.

    Now, she may not even graduate from high school. It's looking highly likely she won't graduate with her class this year, and no longer does she want to go to college (her dream for ages was going to Harvard). Her response is: "Why should I slave away for years to possibly get a degree no one wants and go into a massive amount of debt while doing so?" It sucks. The one good thing about all this is that Seattle made it so all community colleges are free for students graduating from Seattle schools. It's a start.

    Lastly, I think the computer science industry has hurt the 40 hour work week for a lot of Americans. They were one of the first major careers that started using salary for almost every position, not just emergency services. This has led to the average workday climbing, and more and more companies countrywide switching from hourly to salary. I firmly believe salary needs to be redefined federally to be actual careers where it makes sense to be there more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. Right now it's a way for a company to avoid overtime, and that is a bloody shame.

    It's the reason I am thinking about leaving the industry and teaching English abroad. The main reason I was let go from my last job was that I didn't go above and beyond and spend 10-15 extra hours after my 40, trying to better myself in their image. They fully expected me to spend dozens of hours a week in unpaid 'overtime' improving the company with internal projects or training myself in a technology I had no interest in. It didn't matter that I always was reliable, wrote great code, was always on time (or early) and was a great mentor for the younger developers. I did the job I was hired to do, but it wasn't enough. It's bullshit, and it burns you out. It sucks, as I love the work but can't stand the environment.
     
  10. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    This made me do a bit of introspection.

    For my own self fellating bit of backstory, my family has swung from being of considerable means to poverty not only intergenerationally, but within my own childhood. I play four instruments, was taking college credit courses when I was 12, played football and weight lifted, have practiced two martial arts, am learning two languages, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. How much of this was parental pressure, how much was just me internalizing expectations after a childhood full of praise, and how much is actually self driven and motivated I couldn't tell you.

    I blew my shot at a top tier school in the fallout after a death in the family, and ended up going to a branch campus of a state school. Recognizable name but not flagship. My Ivy League friends are scandalized at the thought that I didn't go to an equivalent institution. I was taking double a full time load of classes while working full time on top. I completely stopped socializing, stopped reading for leisure, stopped playing video games, and came out with honors. That said, I still feel like a failure who's wasted his potential. It probably isn't healthy, but I'm deathly afraid of settling. Mediocrity is one of my worst fears. Tell someone they're exceptional long enough and they'll start to believe it, I guess.

    Even now that I'm out of school, I'm still studying a dozen things at any one time while prepping for interviews at institutions who carry a requisite level of pay and prestige that I won't hate myself for accepting.

    A little self fellation mixed in with self flagellation, but that's how I slot into the meritocratic rat race. I imagine there are some similar stories among the userbase. I've cracked a few times from the pressure, with only one lasting any significant amount of time. A very similar story to Lindsey's sister on that one, where I went from an honors student for 8 years to barely passing in high school. I'd ace tests but skip class and homework. I've paid for that one for a decade now, and likely always will.
     
  11. Arthellion

    Arthellion Dark Lord

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    I think there are two sides. You have those students that kill themselves in good high schools to get to elite institutions.

    Then you have those students who get an A for just showing up in high school but can barely make it at the collegiate level.

    I have freshmen having anxiety attacks over 2 page papers.

    Part of me wonders on the difference between millennials vs. gen Z for both High School experience and college.
     
  12. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Man, reading this thread is so weird. This is all so alien to my experience.

    I coasted through high school, a pretty good Jesuit school at that, with an A-/B+ average and hardly had to spend any time at all on it. I did my homework and played some football and track, but I spent maybe 40 -50hours a week doing things related to school, including being in the building for regular school hours.

    This brought me right into college, where I landed my #2 pick months before I was applying to the rest of my list, and after being denied my #1 I shrugged and went with it. Where I proceeded to basically fuck around for most of the next 4 years, with brief periods of high activity (typically crunch on a project to turn in), graduated with a solid B average and a degree, and promptly waltzed into Sillicon Valley and some fantastic timing on choosing to pick up how to write Android code (read: 2010, right as mobile started really taking off).

    It's like, I'm seeing these stories of people who worked themselves half to death, and it's totally outside my realm of experience. Closest I've come to any of this was right after I started my current job and I got the lead on a new project, so I got super into it and averaged like 75 hours a week for 7 or 8 weeks straight. By the end of it, I took a three week vacation where I didn't think about work at all, and was back just fine and ready to go.

    Haven't come close to that yet again though, for better or ill, with me probably averaging around 30 hours a week of actual work.
     
  13. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    I'd be interested in some non-US perspectives. What does the high speed, high performance, high expectation childhood and education look like in Germany, India, or Korea? I know we've got a few of you floating around, don't hold out on us.
     
  14. EsperJones

    EsperJones Headmaster

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    I graduated from a state school in 2010 which was approximately the end of the 'carefree college era' as far as I can tell.

    I had a 2.7 GPA and got a good job straight out of college at one of the big tech companies (85k salary, paid relocation, etc). Apparently that doesn't happen anymore?

    My parents and I immigrated from Russia after the soviet union fell (93ish). The university programs in Russia were absurd - so the new direction college turned is not particularly new to me. Paying for the right on the other hand is -- Soviet universities were absurdly hard to get into, but were free if you did. Which I guess makes sense.

    Edit: @Agayek's experience is closest to mine, but those 75-80 hour weeks are absurd. I tended to overwork when I had less experience, but these days I try to average 30-50 hours a week - closer to the lower end than the higher end to be honest.
     
  15. Arthellion

    Arthellion Dark Lord

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    Very rare nowadays. One other factor is job stability. Whereas previous generations would stay with one company their entire life, current generations hop from company to company.
     
  16. Tylendel

    Tylendel Slug Club Member

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    My experience is a little like Agayek, I never felt any pressure to chose an University or a program (probably helped by a lack of ambition...).

    Instead of going in accounting, I ended up going to law school because a friend told me to try and see... I did with no expectations. I got accepted into the business school I wanted easily and after a few weeks received my acceptation for Law school (in Québec, you don't need an undergraduate degree, you can go to law or medical school right after CÉGEP - 2 years between high school and University).

    I literally World of Warcrafted my degree and the Bar before hitting a wall. Took me nearly 18 months to find an articling, which nearly destroyed me. I nearly want into depression and loss all my anchors.

    Once I started working, I learned that I loved the job (tax and corporate law) but found it against my against my value. I hated how superficial I was becoming and needed a big change or I would die inside... Ended up joining the army (not a JAG).

    This allowed me to learn what was really important, and money, diploma or status symbol of success have no value to me. I am enough as I am and not becoming a big shot lawyer or legal knight doesn't make me less a person.

    If I didn't have those experiences, I would never have made the choice to join the army, the opportunity to meet all wonderful and inspiring people I have the privilege to work with. There is a lot of frustrating bullshit in the army, but most people are good and worth it.

    At the end of the day, I learned that it doesn't matter what you study in, set a goal and be ready to do everything's to get it while respecting others and never crushing others people. Being a decent human being might he slower and discouraging on the short term, but it is worth it in the long run.

    A lot of people have gone to Harvard, Princeton, Yales, Oxford, etc., yet human decency, honor and integrity are a rare commodity today. Being willing to sacrifice yourself for the betterment of all, that's what will truly make the world better.

    It may sounds idealistic, but it is a journey that I have been walking for the last three years, and I have a long way to go before mastering it.

    The army showed me the worst of myself, and how easy it isto quit when it get hard if you don't know what you really stand for.

    Once I reached rock bottom, I made the choice to rebuilt myself and author like Jocko Willink, Marcus Aurellius, Epictetus, Simon Sinek, David Marquet and Brené Brown helped me a lot.

    I have gone on a tangent... What I want to say is that no matter how important the choice of college seems, if you don't know why you want it, you will never find true happiness, there is only emptiness at the end of the road.

    If you do it for money or prestige, great. They might make life easier, but they will not bring happiness. So what if you do not meet the expectations of society, no one else really care. What really matters are our relationship with the people we love and our willingness to invest time in them, all the rest is meaningless. I will stop now before going on another tangent.
     
  17. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, it was definitely outside the norm, which I'm glad for. I'm typically working 20-50 hours a week (with 30 being a pretty solid "normal"), depending on what exactly is going on, with the occasional 55-60 hours when deadlines start looming.

    But honestly, the whole 75+ hours weeks wasn't something work made me do (though they might have asked as the deadline for it grew nearer). I just went and did it because I really, really like coding and design. I had a shitload of fun doing it and kept losing track of time. I'd wake up in the morning, sit down and start in on it, then look up an hour later and the sun's setting. I quite enjoyed it, even if I did need a vacation when it was done to avoid burnout.

    In all honesty, I'm likely to pull something similar the next time we get a new project in, just because I enjoy doing that kind of thing so much, and I'm prone to bouts of hyper-focus, where I can't stop thinking about something until it's done and then I'm off on the next thing.
     
  18. Arthellion

    Arthellion Dark Lord

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    @Tylendel I think you’re hitting on a key point. My boss and I were talking about this today. She did the whole dance routine of busting through college. She has her PhD. African American female (with single mom) so overcame a lot of hardship. She was in a job traveling with agencies seeing the world, but the work made her miserable. Her brother finally asked her, “are you happy?” And she left her job to pursue mentoring students.

    So, I think we spend far too much time teaching students how to make wealth. And far too little time teaching students how to be happy. How to be content and have joy even if you aren’t making six digits.
     
  19. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Unspeakable

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    Without giving too many details, I'll just say that being in a high speed/performance/expectations household in India means that the whole family puts effort into making you shine (not that it really worked on me, but oh well). It started out with my mum and grandparents. I knew mutiplicative tables till 20 in kindergarten, and by the time I finished high school my dad had got me to finish reading "Molecular Biology of the Cell" by Bruce Alberts and quizzed me on it if he was feeling I was slacking. I knew an instrument and both the Hindustani and Western style of music, I could read and write in three languages, and if you asked me to speak extempore in two of those languages I could do it without batting an eyelash on a topic of your choosing. Reading a newspaper religiously for an hour everyday was mandated and I was expected to be able to string together events and create coherent stories. My grandfather, in particular, would be disappointed if I wasn't able to explain current politics sufficiently.

    All this gave me quite an ego, I must admit. And then, like every other Indian student ever, I decided to give the entrance exam for the IITs. The 17th and 18th years of my life were basically nothing more than eat, study, sleep, and cut down on the latter. No one needed to tell you to study. There were 7000 seats and 400,000+ people competing for them. The broader engineering entrance examination had around 1,200,000+ people competing for a handful of seats across India. If these numbers don't motivate you, then the sight of your classmates plowing through the syllabus for these exams definitely would. We would go to high school in the morning, attend IIT coaching centres till 7pm, and then try to internalise those topics till our eyes would stay open. It was all self-study: almost no one studies in groups for this.

    I got through. I was in the top 1% for IIT, and the top 0.1% for the other exam. My state rank was below 50. In India, however, you don't get to choose a major the same way as in the US. It's given to you according to your rank in the entrance exam you qualified for. The choice of majors for me in the IITs didn't appeal, so I went to another uni with Chemical Engineering. It was pretty sweet. Almost anything feels easy after the hell on earth that IIT prep is like. I breezed through college without putting in effort. I got an alright GPA, learned anything else I wanted to. I'm a pretty mean Linux sysadmin, for example, which was all due to self-study in college. And then I decided I wanted to do something in biochemical engineering, so I applied to Kyoto University in Japan, and was selected for their masters programme and given a scholarship to attend.

    Life in Kyoto was hectic. You went at 9am, worked till 2am. We did get Saturdays and Sundays off, though, so you didn't have to come during that time (though Sunday 6pm - 2am was reserved for lab work for me). Still, nearly 3 years of that (I wrote my bachelor's thesis in Kyoto as well) and I was ready to say fuck it. Hence I came back to India, and applied for a PhD in a pretty good place here, and I'm a year into it. Fuck me for believing that it was going to be easier than Kyoto was. I don't stay till 2am, sure, but I stay here till 11pm and the amount of pressure is unbelievable. Given that I wish to have a life outside the lab as well, the pressure to be productive in these 14 hours is insane. I slack off a lot, I fuck up my experiments, I make mistakes in theory, I read a lot of scientific literature which has nothing to do with my PhD topic and my boss is constantly shaking her head at me.

    But fuck it. It's my life, and I know I don't want to be an academic. I want a PhD because for the first time, I finally feel like I know something inside out. It gives me feelings of adequacy. So I'll get it. And then I'll do something else. Something that gives me meaning.

    Edit: Nearly forgot to add that being in a PhD programme (or an insane programme in Japan) doesn't mean that I get to slack off on familial expectations. My grandfather expects me to keep up with current events at the same pace as I did when I was younger, an uncle wants me to write those observations down and get them published in national newspapers and opinion columns. Granted that last one hasn't yet happened, but that's not stopping both him and me from trying. Dad expects me to keep up with medical advancements and will be disappointed if I don't, and I have to demonstrate above-adequate skills in elocution in two languages at a moment's notice if he decides to call and it tickles his fancy.
     
  20. Microwave

    Microwave Seventh Year

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    I guess this isn't really applicable to me, I've not ever really been under that kind of pressure, but being an Asian who's been to school in both Canada and the US in relatively high pressure communities I think I've sort of become hyper-aware of others' work ethics and the like.

    A lot of what I've seen all around is that either that :
    1. The parents put a ridiculous amount of pressure on their kids
    2. The kids see what their peers do and put a ridiculous amount of pressure on themselves
    3. They don't give a shit and all their peers look down upon them

    I don't think I've really fallen into any of these categories because I'm lazy and do the bear minimum just to barely fit into the second category I have better things to do with my life. Looking at my peers, it really just feels like a bit too much to handle. I'd like to say that this sort of work ethic and obsessiveness with studies at such a young age is an exception to the norm, it's just that all of these types of people are congregated in the same communities and in the same elite universities, so they're the ones that stand out more.

    Most of these people start from a young age going to supplementary after-school lessons, tutors, 60 different competitive sports, etc. Pretty much then from the age of around 5 or 6 they've basically become conditioned to be efficiently functioning members of society, nothing more. These are the ones with the overbearing parents, and they've pretty much done nothing their entire lives but a) work, and b) sleep.

    I think the issue is that everybody has the impression that they can't survive past high school if they don't get a 4.69 GPA, 60 billion volunteer hours, 80 AP classes, etc., etc. They expect that you have to involve yourself in every possible thing that makes you appear well-adjusted and well-rounded, but they forget that they're not actually gaining anything useful along the way.

    You don't gain anything substantial by learning calculus when you're 10 years old before you're able to grasp the concept of why it works. You don't gain anything substantial from going to sleep at 4 in the morning every day just to improve your exam grade by 1%, and waking up at 6 to go to school. You don't gain anything substantial by playing for your school's hockey, basketball, and football teams at the same time because it just might look good on your college application. You don't gain anything substantial by taking adderall because you literally physically can't handle the pressure you're putting on yourself.

    I remember this one conversation I had with a girl in my calculus class pretty vividly because I think it encapsulates a lot of my frustrations that I had, and still have with peoples' attitudes towards their study and towards their work ethic. We had just taken a test earlier that day about fuck knows what, and she fucking said "That test was really hard, my tutor didn't go over it with me over the summer". Over the fucking PREVIOUS SUMMER? Doesn't that defeat the ENTIRE FUCKING PURPOSE of taking the class if you're just going to learn everything over the summer from something else? I don't know what she expected, but the entire point of the class existing was that you could learn the content IN CLASS and capable of doing everything when you're tested.

    What's the most irritating about all of this is that most of them, they've literally dedicated their entire lives to nothing but study study study study and fuck else. And even with this, they're still knowledgable about absolutely fucking nothing. Sure, they're able to do extraordinarily complicated physics problems, compete in international math competitions or whatever. The problem is that whenever they have to do anything slightly out of their comfort zone, they become potatoes.

    To me, I think this really became rather evident when taking history, literature, philosophy classes, etc. Sure, they could write essays following a basic structure with the ideas they were told. However, in class when literally fucking anybody was asked to think just slightly out of the box and apply their knowledge just a teeny weeny bit to something else absolutely nobody is capable of doing anything.

    I think that's the crux of the issue really, they're cramming all this information into their brains, but they don't seem to understand just why exactly they're learning anything they're learning and what they can actually apply their knowledge to. There's no point in taking a philosophy course if you haven't gained anything substantial other than your passing mark. It feels to me that they're just doing as much as they can only because they can and for nothing else whatsoever.

    To bring this to something else, I'm really impressed with how Invictus writes so many billion word posts so frequently. I've already lost my attention numerous times writing this. Naturally, in a true Invictus fashion I have absolutely no clue what the point I'm trying to make is and you'll all be more confused after reading this post than before you started.
     
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