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Comment on Scholar Glamorization 2nd part

March 18, 2009

First, I would like to thank junyu for sharing his or her opinion for the previous post. This post is my reply to the comment.

Some aspect of communication skills can be observed through interview, and hence I do not deny that scholars may have higher chance to be better than non scholar in terms of this. I have nothing against employer who tend to hire scholar over non scholar, since it is presumed that they are more likely to be a good communicator. It is the mentality that a scholar MUST be better than their peers in terms of communication skills and other things that I dispute. Of course, if the scholarship interview process is indeed flawless and the person maintain his abilities after years in university, then I might be wrong. However I am highly skeptical of this.

Regarding maximizing the effectiveness of a team…well, good communication skills doesn’t necessarily lead to maximizing the effectiveness of a team (though it is an advantage). Great leaders are typically good communicator (Then again, not all of them. That’s why we have CEOs and Entrepreneur who are hated by their subordinate but yet succeed in their business. But that is rare.), but a good communicator doesn’t necessarily imply that a person is a good leader.  I personally think that there are other dominant factors, such as resource and time management, problem solving skills  (the ability to handle crisis, interpersonal relationship, solve your employer problem, this I think is the no 1 factor). And can that be judged by interview?

From a pragmatic and economic point of view…university should produce more undergraduatres who will be good employee, like junyu said. Nothing wrong with this view. In fact I think that this is necessary for a society to progess and advance.

Just wondering what happend to the education and personal developtment part though. Nowadays there seems to be many people who enter university solely for a future job with lucrative pay. Again, I don’t regard that as a bad thing. It merely saddens the idealist part of me, which seems to be yielding to the more pragmatic side…:P

I digressed. Anyway, I apologize if I offend anyone, or if my points seem unclear or even fallacious. Yeah, I admit that I am not a scholar and I happen to be one of those who isn’t too good in communication skills :P. I love to hear others’ opinion though, so feel free to cricticize or commenting.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. junyu permalink
    March 18, 2009 8:32 am

    Hmm…Firstly, I try to say I am not criticizing your opinion. And I hope you understand 文言文.

    莊子曰:既使我与若辩矣,若胜我,我不若胜,若果是也,我果非也邪?我胜若,若不吾胜,我果是也,而果非也邪?其或是也,其或非也邪?其俱是也,其俱非也邪?我与若不能相知也,则人固受其黮闇,吾谁使正之?使同乎若者正之?既与若同矣,恶能正之!使同乎我者正之?既同乎我矣,恶能正之!使异乎我与若者正之?既异乎我与若矣,恶能正之!使同乎我与若者正之?既同乎我与若矣,恶能正之!然则我与若与人,俱不能相知也,而待彼也邪?

    At my pervious comment, I mean scholars can win over others due to their communication skills, which is preferred by employers. The picture is true at the beginning of the university. (I am just wondering why I cannot win CN Yang Scholarship, since many others who can are not able to gain a better academic grade than me. XD… ) As the scholars are determined by interviewers, scholars do master(?) communications. On the other hand, even though a employer can not ensure a scholar will do better than other employees, it is a trade-off: a scholar can normally (not definitely) do better; if I can employ a scholar, why not. As time goes, more attention will be paid to scholars they employed. The scholars` working skills improve faster than other persons. The employer then thinks he/she is right that a scholar is normally better than others. It is a circle or 良性循環. (We are changing. But how much will we change? Or will employer believe in our change? )

    And for leaders, I just mean a leader is a person who can maximize the effectiveness of a team (not a group). A leader even does not to have good communication skills, because another teammate can help express the leader`s idea. A leader does not have to be able to handle crisis and solve problem, because someone else can. Although it is an ideal model, the true picture is more or less like what you said—a leader has to master some abilities to gain respect from others. But actually, a leader does not have to be charismatic and influential, if you have ever read some history of China. (Mum…Yes, I`m a Chinese.)

    About the education part, I am not quite sure. The picture in Singapore is quite different form that in China. In China, students do be for a better job of entering a university, but even undergraduates cannot find a job. (Only about 10%~ of them can find a job with a salary of S$1000/mouth or above)

    key words:normally (not definitely)
    why not
    a circle or 良性循環
    a team (not a group)
    have to be charismatic and influential
    gain respect from others

  2. March 20, 2009 7:23 pm

    庄子的辩论无用论…while I don’t really like his philosophy and style, I do agree with this to some extent. In retrospect I think that I may have misinterpreted your previous comment. I agree with your opinion in general.

    A leader does not have to be charismatic and influential…I do read quite some history of China, and can’t really think of anyone in my mind who is not influential yet a great leader. If you mean leader, not great leader, then yeah, there are quite a few of them who falls into the category.

    CNY Yang Scholarship…XD , well, I personally think that CNY Yang Scholarship is better than ASEAN Scholarship in standard, judging from my NTU’s friend high opinion on them, especially in mathematics and physics. If I am not mistaken this scholarship is slightly more academic inclined and research orientated (I may be wrong though). Hence I am rather surprise when you say that many other scholars cannot get a better grade than you…lol

  3. junyu permalink
    March 20, 2009 8:46 pm

    Yeah….When I re-thought about whether a leader has to be charismatic and influential, I found myself wrong. Even though I can find some persons that look like anything but charismatic and influential, they are actually very charismatic and influential.

    About CN Yang, the story may be a little interesting. At first, I was admitted to CBE. There was just one CNY student in my class (CBE year1). And she took courses quite different from mine. So I thought CNY students could be very excellent, which was judged based on my unfamiliarity about CNY. But when I changed my major to Physics, there are several CN Yang students in physics. When I really make acquaintance with them, I find at least I can do as well as them. Some person is really very excellent. But there are always not so good. I feel I can be above the average judging from my friends like [edited by mediocre for privacy reason] ……XD…And CN Yang students do have some privileges over normal students. But I am trying to minimize the gap. Now I am doing research too, which is a little unusual for a non-CN Yang year 1 student.

    I think the process may be the same for knowing unfamiliar things such as relativity , quantum theory ,field theory etc.(Although I cannot say I am good at them, I am not as ‘scared’ as when in high school or treat them sacred.)

  4. March 21, 2009 10:29 am

    lol I suppose your friend don’t mind you mentioning their name here, do they? CN Yang scholars are just like our USP scholar in NUS, and they gain access to special modules. (USP took a “broad” approach while CN Yang is more specialized)

    Field theory…the language of Physics XD. Yeah, same here. I no longer regard those field as sacred as I used to be, though their true essence is still beyond my grasp.

    Doing research in year 1 for Physics…now that is really unusual. Which research topic are you working on?

  5. junyu permalink
    March 21, 2009 10:37 am

    Oh, I`m sorry. Could you help me delete my friends` names?

    I will focus on graphene`s (mass) production and its unusual properties. Now I am trying to make graphene from graphite using chemical method.

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