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Discussion Starter #1
A lot of people tell me I'm the absent-minded professor type. My room is a pile of books and I love discussing ideas.

But I find myself a misfit in academics. I teach Religious Studies, part time. My core motivation in teaching is to bring out the spiritual meanings of the religions I am teaching, to show students how other people in the past and present have found a sense of meaning, truth in their lives, and to encourage students to consider issues of meaning and truth themselves. I focus on human experience and subjectivity.

Most other teachers and most of the writing in this field, however, is more about the historical, political, sociological forces that moulded certain religious movements. It is about evidence and argument rather than 'feeling' one's way into the religion. I would any day be much more interested in knowing what went on in the heart of the people who wrote, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, rather than what was going on in the political milieu then.

So, I find myself a misfit. People say I am a bit too emotional about things, too other worldly, or not historical enough. Sometimes my writings remind them of poetry appreciation rather than the academic study of religion. I'm considering not making a career in this field. I realise that my method is more akin to that of a spiritual/personal guide than a professor or lecturer in a university.

I've been teaching master's level students and things may be a different at the undergraduate level.

Are any of you other 4w5s in academia / research?

Do you find a similar problem between your search for depth and meaning and the mainstream's emphasis on hard evidence, research, historicity, etc.? I imagine that such issues may be faced by 4w5s even outside the limited field of Religious Studies.

How do you deal with it?
 

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I'm thinking of going into some type of psychological research, but I don't think I could do it for a long time because it's too dry and unemotional for me. The psychology aspect of it is the part that interests me. I've been writing research papers all semester, and I'm so sick of them. The only good part is maybe writing the introductions and discussion sections because I can be somewhat creative. And going down to the lab and doing MRI studies is interesting and fun, but I'm sick of looking at blood flow and brains. I'm much more fascinated by the animals when I go to the lab or when we discuss how the research could potentially help people. I guess I just deal with it by focusing on and appreciating the aspects of the field that I actually like so that they'll outweigh or at least find balance with the boring aspects of the field.

I also find it reallyy hard to follow schedules, so that affects my performance in school and also affected me at my last internship. I tend to be late for most things because it always seems like there's a little leeway with scheduled times and deadlines. I have no clue why I continue to think that way haha. But my point is that I wish I could be in a freer environment.
 

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Well, I'm a 4w3 but I think you need to change your environment. Maybe, like you said, you would be happier teaching undergrad. But you'd still have to publish (well, I assume so anyway) and you'd still have to be in a similar environment. Perhaps you'd be happier in a more religious academic setting? I don't know anything about your field so I have no idea what out there.

I wanted to be an English professor for quite a while. I didn't have an issue with the historical/political/psychological focus but that's probably because my head fix is 5w6. I knew some people who were driven absolutely batty by it. There were several reasons I decided not to go to grad school despite a decade of preparing myself for it, including the intellectually oppressive environment and the lack of opportunity for creative self-expression. Also, I realized I would hate teaching and that that would not only would that make unhappy but also be terribly unfair to my students. All that said, it was a tough decision to make and I imagine I would have been a lot more invested in academia if I had already gotten through grad school and obtained a job. Still, if academia is making you unhappy, perhaps it's time to move on? I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to tell you what to do with your life, this is just maybe something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm thinking of going into some type of psychological research, but I don't think I could do it for a long time because it's too dry and unemotional for me. The psychology aspect of it is the part that interests me. I've been writing research papers all semester, and I'm so sick of them. The only good part is maybe writing the introductions and discussion sections because I can be somewhat creative. And going down to the lab and doing MRI studies is interesting and fun, but I'm sick of looking at blood flow and brains. I'm much more fascinated by the animals when I go to the lab or when we discuss how the research could potentially help people. I guess I just deal with it by focusing on and appreciating the aspects of the field that I actually like so that they'll outweigh or at least find balance with the boring aspects of the field.

I also find it reallyy hard to follow schedules, so that affects my performance in school and also affected me at my last internship. I tend to be late for most things because it always seems like there's a little leeway with scheduled times and deadlines. I have no clue why I continue to think that way haha. But my point is that I wish I could be in a freer environment.
What's your area of research / study? What kind of psychology?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I'm a 4w3 but I think you need to change your environment. Maybe, like you said, you would be happier teaching undergrad. But you'd still have to publish (well, I assume so anyway) and you'd still have to be in a similar environment. Perhaps you'd be happier in a more religious academic setting? I don't know anything about your field so I have no idea what out there.

I wanted to be an English professor for quite a while. I didn't have an issue with the historical/political/psychological focus but that's probably because my head fix is 5w6. I knew some people who were driven absolutely batty by it. There were several reasons I decided not to go to grad school despite a decade of preparing myself for it, including the intellectually oppressive environment and the lack of opportunity for creative self-expression. Also, I realized I would hate teaching and that that would not only would that make unhappy but also be terribly unfair to my students. All that said, it was a tough decision to make and I imagine I would have been a lot more invested in academia if I had already gotten through grad school and obtained a job. Still, if academia is making you unhappy, perhaps it's time to move on? I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to tell you what to do with your life, this is just maybe something to consider.
Thanks :). So which area are you moving to now?
 

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What's your area of research / study? What kind of psychology?
I'm kind of all over the place, actually. I'm doing some social psych., personality, psychobiology, and animal mind research. Right now I'm working on an imaging study on fear in fmr1 knockout rats, which are rats that are essentially made to have Fragile X Syndrome, which is the primary known genetic cause of autism. But I'm also conducting an experiment outside of the lab inducing empathy to test in-group/out-group biases, victim perceptions, etc., and I just finished a study on extraversion, personality, and roommate rapport. I'm also writing a research proposal for an experiment exploring tigers' understanding of planning and time and their mapping of the world, but it's not actually going to be put into action. The part of me that likes research thinks it's awesome how some of my professors are funded to conduct this amazing research on campus, but I could never be a professor. It's too emotionally limiting and founded in routine for me. The only type of teaching I could see myself doing is maybe some type of life coaching.

Obviously you're a very intelligent person, so I feel like you would relate to this - I feel like I tend to be competent in most areas, which makes me more likely to wake up one day, look around myself, and realize that I've been, for example, sitting in classrooms staring at brains or doing statistics despite a significant lack of interest.
 

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Thanks :). So which area are you moving to now?
I've decided I want to write creatively. It took me several years after I realized I would unhappy in academia to decide what I was going to do with my life instead. That period was difficult but I think it was worth it to spend that time reflecting. Once I dedicate myself to something I do it 100% and I didn't want to waste my time and energy on another long-term goal that would make me unhappy. One of the reasons it took so long is I enjoy writing, period - in fact, that's what attracted me to academia in the first place. But I realized I was going to become that stereotypical English professor and spend my life wishing I was writing novels rather than studying them. Writing creatively is not a very practical goal but I ultimately I realized that if I didn't go for it I would spend the rest of my life wishing I had at least tried so I owe it to myself to pursue my dreams.

Specifically, I'd like to be a TV writer and eventually create and run my own show - but I'm not sure my health will ever be good enough for that. I enjoy writing novels just as much as screenplays but TV is hotter creatively and allows for a bigger platform. However, what really matters is becoming a successful storyteller and not the medium. I want to change the world and write something truly great but I also want all of the acclaim that comes along with being a critically successful writer. So yeah... I'm just a tiny bit ambitious LOL.

I firmly believe that people should pursue their passions in life. Of course, first you have to find your passion.
 

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"Most other teachers and most of the writing in this field, however, is more about the historical, political, sociological forces that moulded certain religious movements. It is about evidence and argument rather than 'feeling' one's way into the religion. I would any day be much more interested in knowing what went on in the heart of the people who wrote, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, rather than what was going on in the political milieu then.
I am fascinated by all of it. And neither aspect is sufficient, though both necessary. I drool at the chance to learn about historical, political and sociological forces behind any sort of movement or era. It is key. But mainly because, as an atheist, I derive meaning from these sorts of things. Looking at how it all panned out, and when, and why, and how that relates to now. How each piece was a stepping stone to where we are now. This to me is essential to the heart. But that's because knowing it serves me to understand more deeply... I am not interested in it just to collect facts, that is dry...

I don't feel the most comfortable with other academics because I love leaning these things privately but trying to share with them, talk to them about it, I feel isolated and alone... because it stops where I want to keep going. I hope this makes sense.
 

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I'm looking to work in academia but more as a Librarian and/or Archivist. I can still work in an educational environment and impart knowledge, but not as a full-blown teacher.
 

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I talked about something similar to this last week with a professor I'm friendly with. I'm working on a master's degree (technical communication), but I don't want to teach or be an academic. I'm getting the degree for a better job than I have now because all I want to do is write. A few years ago, I had considered getting a doctorate and becoming an academic. While I know I would be just fine in a PhD program, I'm not an effective teacher. I don't want to compete for the few jobs available in literature and I don't want to become an adjunct because I know how they're treated.

I love researching and learning and I'll likely get more degrees later on, but academia isn't for me long term.
 

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Yes, I'd considered (read: tortured myself) over the idea of a traditional academia path for a while, then realized that it was partially my self-loathing and envy of what I believed to be "true intellectuals" pushing me to want to choose a specific field of study and life path that wasn't a good fit for me. I thought I needed to do it to prove that I am smart (I've always felt incredibly insecure about my ability to engage in my intellectual interests, of which I have many, and have been historically self-loathing over it.) Anyway, now I think I might choose a somewhat nontraditional academia path that would allow me to do what I really want to do. :)
 

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I worry about this a little bit too because I'm getting my BA in sociology next month and I plan on going into academic research (if the job market ever allows it). I'm just worried that being at a desk typing on a computer for the rest of my life may be too depressing after a while.

However I do actually like the "scientific" aspect of research because if it were all speculation I feel like there'd be no way to draw conclusions.

But I see what you're saying, and I don't see why that would make you an unfit teacher in any way. Maybe your just not into the research aspect, so just stick to teaching? As long as your students learn in class I would just ignore those telling you that you're too emotional, because you're allowed to teach in any way you see fit. Students need a mix of your kind of teaching and the more strict logic stuff too (in my opinion).
 

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I love research and scholarship, and people often confuse me for the absent-minded professor type too. Although I feel like a misfit among that crowd too. I seem to have a more passionate and creative approach to research and scholarship than the usual academic. The dry and pedantic style can be rather off-putting a lot of times.
 

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I'm actually in the process of applying to PhD programs, and I'm equally excited about the prospects of teaching and research. Having spent a year at a startup (which I can definitively say is definitely a polar opposite to academia), I've realized that academia is the one place that will allow me engage with the theoretical questions that interest me, but generally get scoffed at everywhere else. History academia lets me escape the monotonous normalcy of every day life, and values work I do thinking about questions that may not have any immediate real world pertinence. Granted, there are different academic environments, and many of them are far from healthy -- but I think that's true of every occupation, and academia gives me, personally, a higher baseline than many others.

I think that 4's actually have the potential to become great teachers, especially in some of the "less popular" subjects, like some of the humanities. The prospect of being able to share the specific passions that define much of my inner world with others is exciting. I like to think that I'll be able to teach young minds to appreciate history, and to learn from it -- to be slightly less complacent and accepting of everything the media and popular culture machine tells us.
 

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No, never had a problem with it. I picked the wrong job first, but abandoning it after a while had nothing to do with the academic background/surroundings, but merely the subject as such (Geology).

I studied something different second time round (Performing Arts), and I now work in HE. I enjoy both lecturing/teaching and research. I honestly love my job.
 

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yeah, i think this has been one of the things holding me back in life and why i am hesitant to go to grad school. i have a BA in painting, and i had similar feelings about art history classes. i didn't want to memorize names, dates, history, i wanted to talk about how the work made one feel when one looked at it, or what feeling the subject evoked/was feeling, but sadly, 95% of my classes weren't like that, except an upper division class that i took on michelangelo. that was one of my favorite art history classes i ever took. the rest were dry, boring and wanted you to regurgitate "meaning". i understand that some of that is necessary, but it ruined a lot of the art-looking for me.

i've always been drawn to psychology/philosophy and i always preferred learning as opposed to working, so i thought i might like teaching or doing something w/ psychology but i'm not sure what. i'm not sure i'm keen on being a therapist, but then again, i really love the idea of art therapy. i am really interested in going for a master's in psychology, but i tend to disagree with a lot of the pathologizing that goes on in our society, so it's a conundrum.
 

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I think it is part of our brain structure as fours to believe there are green pasture elsewhere. It is not uncommon for 4s to experience doubt and the call for "something better". It is a connection process and it is the core of Spirituality. Religion is the human-made overlay over quintessential spirituality. As 4s, we need to structure ourselves to get pass this identification to the world of feelings and emotions, so that we can reconnect ourselves to the Source. Studies, the academics world, may play a great role in our lives to help us structure ourselves. We need more gut, but we also need more realism and structure. It is a balance to find in the way you teach and convey your subject, as a teacher and living model. You need to have the "feu sacré" and convey it through facts and academic structure.
 
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