The biggest bullshit in higher education.

Many schools try to teach students how to do research, including the methods, tools, and perhaps the habits of mind. They let students learn the concepts, work on assignments, and grade them, thinking that all these practices will help students learn and gain the skills.

I believe that’s the biggest bullshit in higher education.

Most assignments that my friends and I have done in colleges, either NTU or Minerva (both are top universities), are filled with our hypocritical bullshit, mainly because these assignments asked us to write essays and analyses on topics we have no interest in.

All the research skills that I’ve gained are not from schools. I acquired these skills during summer breaks and gap years, when I was doing extensive reading on topics that I’m genuinely interested in, solving the problems that I actually care about. Working on things I care for automatically leads me to the quest to find better methods, tools, and habits of mind. For me, that’s the right time to take education from others, not the other way around.

Therefore, I believe the only way to teach people how to do research is to tell them to work on whatever they're interested in, recommend some books and online courses, and wait. Students will come to you when they need your help.

However, I’m not saying what I’ve learned in the universities is not useful in the real world. They are super useful indeed, just not about how to do research, but about how to efficiently dealing with useless, time-consuming paperwork and writing things that you don’t care about in the shortest amount of time. The better you are at doing this, the less time you waste on useless things, and the more time you spend doing actual valuable work.

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