The true meaning of ‘academic career’ | The Triangle


The true meaning of ‘academic career’

Editor-in-Chief Justin Roczniak criticized use of the phrase “academic career” Feb. 28. While I agree that it is terrible that “learning for the sake of learning is dead,” as he succinctly puts it, I think that we should refer to the academic career more often to combat just that.

Our interpretations differ somewhat. To me, the academic career is the path you take through your schooling (but indeed, not necessarily your education). Just as in a Roman political career you moved from tribune to quaestor to aedile, and so on; we go from being freshmen to seniors, to graduate students and then doctors of some variety in our academic career (regardless of whether a job in academia awaits at the end). By that measure, we turn the traditional wisdom on its head, and see that Drexel University students are not career-focused at all.

I cannot understand the kind of person who cruises by on the minimum amount of credits per term until they reach their next co-op. Practical experience is important, but it is only a supplement to the traditional college education, certainly not a substitute.

I understand less still why this behavior is possible at our University. It’s all about graduating so you can get a job, preferably with as little learning in between as possible — consider that some engineers will never be introduced to the social sciences, philosophy, history or civics, for example. In the College of Arts and Sciences, often all you need to do in the natural sciences is take two classes for “non-majors” (which is to say, at the remedial high school level).

Drexel’s curriculum is excessively deferential to what students want; it should insist upon what students need. That’s why there can’t just be room for an education a hair broader than a European alleyway, a schooling in the liberal arts — which traditionally contain the natural sciences, I will remind you — must be required.

Perhaps that will encourage students to be more mindful of their “academic career.” Getting an undergraduate degree without having obtained a broader education and then flinging yourself at the nearest employer is the academic career equivalent of managing a McDonald’s restaurant.

Reconsider your choices over a delicious sandwich.

2 slices of white bread ($1 a loaf at Fresh Grocer)
Half a liverwurst (I recommend Koch’s Deli on 43rd and Locust streets)

Take a slice of white bread. Cut most of the liverwurst up into some good, thick slices and spread them evenly on the bread. Cover with the second slice. Keep the liverwurst leftovers as a snack before your night class.

Kim Post is the Co-Chief Copy Editor at The Triangle. He can be contacted at