The average college freshman changes their major seven times. It's okay if you don't know what to be. But work on finding out what you want. Childhood was the time for well-rounded approaches, but as a young adult, you'll need to narrow your focus in order to achieve excellence. Getting by will not attract the right connections and opportunities you'll need to enter the job market.
In their 1968 research into the bystander effect, Bibb Latané and John Darley explained that people who are alone will more likely intervene on someone's behalf over those who are with others. This is due to the "diffusion of responsibility" in which an individual's sense of responsibility is weakened or minimized by the presence of others.
Which parent hasn't heard the names Steve Jobs and Bill Gates thrown back at them as they urge their offspring to stay in school? Add to that list Richard Branson, Michael Dell and Larry Ellison. Taking this argument to the extreme is Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, whose foundation pays students to drop out of school to launch companies.
Impostor syndrome is the fear of being found out or discovered as stupid or unworthy. I don't consider myself to be someone with especially low self-esteem, but I have often felt like an impostor among very intelligent and accomplished people, and especially around individuals with elegant, show-stopping vocabularies.
Several times per semester an article gets forwarded around amongst the students in my PhD program with a message that is some variation of the following: Doctoral studies are pointless. Needless to say, these are depressing, discouraging reads for those of us already pursuing advanced degrees. I enjoy being a PhD student.
It comes as no real surprise to those who have witnessed Tom Flanagan casually call for state assassinations or defend the very civilizing project that led to the abhorrent Indian Residential School system to learn that he made flippant comments regarding child pornography while giving a talk on the Indian Act. So when Flanagan, a former adviser to Stephen Harper, was summarily dropped as a commentator by the CBC and labelled a persona non grata by the Alberta Wild Rose Party and Conservative Party of Canada, the reaction among many in academia was: What took you so long?
From sex-abuse scandals within churches to the stupefying fiascoes on Wall Street and in the Gulf of Mexico, a general malaise has replaced our optimism. For academics concerned by the crisis of credibility in our political, economic, and social institutions, it is time to take a good look in the mirror.