Appropriately, given that this is graduation season, when a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of grad school, Dan Drezner ’90 posts a Sorting Hat mechanism to determine whether or not one is suited for academia:

There is a certain type of mindset that is well-suited to the academy, and will be happy even if they live a life of post-doctoral fellowships, adjunct positions, and visiting positions.  And given that higher education might be the next bubble to burst, it would be good if we had some kind of Sorting Hat mechanism to inform people before they entered a doctoral program whether they’re doing the right thing.

For those academic wannabes out there, here’s a simple three-question survey to help guide you through this very important choice:

A)  You are happiest when you see your name:

  1. Mentioned on television.
  2. Tagged on Facebook.
  3. Listed in the acknowledgments of an obscure article written by a former professor for whom you were an RA.

B)  It is 2 AM on Saturday morning.  You are:

  1. Asleep.
  2. Still out partying.
  3. Feeling an odd compulsion to catch up on Arts & Letters Daily.

C)  Which of the following phrases gets you the most excited?

  1. “This job offer comes with a 401(k).”
  2. “I scored two tickets to the Red Sox game.”
  3. “Your paper has been accepted without revision.”

If your answer to all of the above was (3), then yeah, you’re pretty much doomed fated to trying out academia.

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