Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Academics and the Ivory Tower

So I am learning a lot this month, particularly about languages and creating surveys that answer particular questions about language. I am also reading a lot of scholarly articles and realizing that I am not 'academic' as defined by Princeton as:
a) hypothetical or theoretical and not expected to produce an immediate or practical result" or
b) marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects

In other words, I would rather learn something that leads to action, change, and growth, than simply for the sake of learning it. I need to create something new, important, unique, rather than simply following in the footsteps of others and 'adding to the existing body of knowledge' about a particular topic. In some senses it could be argued that adding to and refining existing knowledge IS new, important, and unique... I suppose I have simply realized by taking this course that I can't sit and read or write about things without having an end-goal in which other human beings are actually affected by the knowledge I gather.

This is not a new realization... but being here and taking this graduate course has given me a fuller understanding of what it all means to me personally. It's a different world here, for sure. As long as I can balance the academics with purpose, I'm sure I'll come out all right.

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