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Looking at Failure

Jan 16, 2008

This article caught my eye as I was scanning my RSS feeds. Who wouldn’t, with a title like that? Without reading the article, it screams that it is okay to give up, giving the underachievers an excuse to justify their procrastination.

This study was conducted in the US, but I was wondering if this is the trend in other countries as well. I’ve seen this behavior after teaching for more than four years. Even David Gross, the Nobel laureate who visited my university last week, said that graduate students tend to stay longer in graduate school because “it is a comfortable place to be in”. My colleagues would often lament on the current attitude of the students, saying that students are a lot lazier now. This is indeed an alarming trend.

What caused this behavior? I believe that the students nowadays are a lot more distracted. There’s television, music, games and Internet that keeps a student busy till the wee hours of the morning. Goodness, even thinking of what to write in this entry takes time, time that should have been devoted to doing research (research that I am deliberately ignoring). Students before the advent of Internet use their free time for reading. I remembered David Gross saying that he used to exchange integrals with his friends to pass time, and I was amused with the reaction of the listeners after that comment. Bottomline is, it is a lot easier to do the things that you WANT to do, and as an effect it is increasingly more difficult to do the things that you HAVE to do.

Imagine the consequences of this trend. Information is right at your fingertips, but people are not interested with that. The rate of acquiring new knowledge would slow down. As an effect, progress would slow down. And then…

Yikes, I don’t want to paint a grim picture. Might as well start doing some work.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan 17, 2008 8:00 pm

    Hammm… Nice article… Interesting.

  2. datenshi permalink
    Jan 19, 2008 12:46 am

    hint: look up “The Onion” in Wikipedia 😀

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