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What are your thoughts on INTPs in academia?

Is this really such a great fit?

Following on from this comment.
 

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Hmm, I never did well ever since I went to grade 7 before which I always ranked in the top 4. Parents say it was hormonal and what-not. I think I was just disinterested with a lot of distractions here and there. I had been taking to counselling sessions a dozen times and was diagnosed with crap like ADHD, etc.

Yeah, after that I only did well in specific subjects like English, Mathematics (sometimes), Computer (Programming, mostly) and Physics. For the final exams, I was in the top 15 percentile.

High school, I never worked all year, skipped class, etc. Whenever I was in class, I'd be lost OR pay a lot of attention. Depends. Either way, I'd do better than average in my papers and my friends used to think I cheated or flirted with my teachers. I don't know. In the end, I ended up with average results because they calculate your marks based on your attendance, assignments, projects and finally, your tests. It was a shocker, I hadn't ever done so badly.

So, here I am, still distracted when I am supposed to be preparing for my entrance exams. :)
 

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Warning: this post only relates to my own experience, not INTPs in general. The reason behind such shall be explained within the text.

The biggest general problem I've experienced is a lack of interest in any teaching method I've come across. In regards to the 'original thinking' aspect, teachers are often expected to provide a specific curriculum that is very narrow minded. It's the same regurgitated basic knowledge spewed over and over again. I can nearly predict what I'm going to learn before taking a class based on extremely general knowledge of the subject. It may be due to the particular schools I've attended and the utter lack of attention I've paid in any class I've ever taken but I'm not remotely interested in learning such basic knowledge. Even though I don't necessarily know the basic knowledge prior to taking the course, I see it as yet another thing that everyone has already learned which leaves me very uninterested. Since I discovered my opinion on the lack of importance in formal education in seventh grade I have paid attention only enough to receive a passing grade while learning next to nothing. It's somewhat frustrating now unraveling basic knowledge that most within my age group learned 10 years ago but I feel as though my mind has been elsewhere the entire time thinking up concepts that could not be naturally considered by a formally educated individual. I also cannot articulate my thoughts well due to this lack of formal education, nor do I have much to reference in my ramblings, which has left me extremely frustrated at times. In the end I would say that I'm glad that I have not suppressed my mind into the same basic mindset as the rest of my surrounding acquaintances. I feel quite crazy often for my abstract thoughts and I have recently discovered that it is most likely stemmed from being "uneducated". That being said, I think I'm intelligent enough to understand complex concepts, theories, systems, etc. but all that I know I have learned from my own experiences and my own engagements in studying particular topics. I enjoy educating myself because I find works that pertain to the exact branch of study in which interest me and I find to be most important. I cannot stand to be thrown a textbook and have a teacher tell me to learn 'this, this and this' when there is so much more than the very basic information given of the topic and aspects I find more valuable.

In short: I highly value abstract thought and dislike any restriction to such. To me formal education is just an enslaving guideline to receive a piece of paper to prove that you qualify for a job that I would never want to have. I don't wish to suppress my mind in any way that formal education requires.


PS. When I end up starving on the streets will any of you provide me with a meal or shelter?

PPS. It's 630am. I have yet to sleep. I drank a lot of rum. Excuse my incoherence. I may disagree with some of this tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
...PS. When I end up starving on the streets will any of you provide me with a meal or shelter?

PPS. It's 630am. I have yet to sleep. I drank a lot of rum. Excuse my incoherence. I may disagree with some of this tomorrow.
PS.A: I think this post qualifies you for a lifetime network of couchsurfing on PerC INTP sofas internationally.

PPS.B: You should drink rum more often. Please do not disagree tomorrow. :)
 
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PS.A: I think this post qualifies you for a lifetime network of couchsurfing on PerC INTP sofas internationally.
Ha. In that case I suppose I'll e-mail my professors now and inform them of my future absences.

PPS.B: You should drink rum more often. Please do not disagree tomorrow. :)
I don't think I will disagree on the overall idea tomorrow. Although I do sometimes grow paranoid that this will one day come back to bite me in the ass. The components I may disagree with would involve my wording implying different ideas than what I wished to convey.
 

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I used to always be there, always listening. I never cared much for participating, if a teacher asked a question I'd answer in my head and wait for someone else to answer. If my answer was correct then I was happy. If I was wrong then I was happy that I didn't make a fool out of myself.

I usually did great on tests, most of the time it was 100% or in the high 90s. But I would never ever turn in homework. I just didn't care to do it, thought the concept was stupid. Kind of how I don't do work at home unless it's something I'm really into.

There were 2 classes I failed in my life. The first one was Chemistry, I was confused as hek in that class, never got to see the clear picture. Second one was Algebra on my 10th grade. During my 11th grade I had a friend help me understand, he was much better at teaching. On 12th grade I was taking advanced math and algebra and passed both with A's. This time Algebra was a bit different, I wanted to prove this was easy for me, so I'd answer frequently, but then the teacher started saying "who other than Javier can answer this?"

Now, I can't remember jack, which makes me wonder, is it normal to learn something and then completely forget it if you don't use it much?
 

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I did fine as a small child, managed to get by on intuition alone. I was easily distracted and never stopped talking. A teacher once screamed at me to “shut the fuck up"
I was never in the top 10 but always the top 25 roughly.

I hit high school at 13 and I didn’t really give a shit anymore, I had dropped out of the A class in all subjects by the second year. The only subject I did well in was physics, thanks to things like wave theory. I was never very good at math though, despite my efforts to understand. By mid high school I had stopped going to boring subjects like accounting, instead I hid down near the basketball courts and read. I’d pretend I was sick if there was a surprise test or a test I couldn’t be arsed to prepare for.

I was about to fail in a good few subjects when I learned we were coming to France.
Came to France, didn’t speak a word of French. I was in a private school, my class was full of delinquents who threw motorbike helmets around the classroom and sometimes sat with their backs to the teacher. There was only one kid who spoke english, a genius 13 year old who was obsessed with hamsters and wanted us all to call him hamster.

The 3 years I spent in that school were extremely surreal. I discovered I was writing the final high school exam for French the same year I had to write it, a year after I had arrived in France(I didn’t spend much of my first year properly learning French).
I was a zombie by the time I had to prepare for the remainder of the finishing exams. I managed to fail both physics(didn’t prepare) and biology(the person correcting the exam must not have liked my French) along with German(had only studied it for 1.5 years) and philosophy(again French) but I passed thanks to Math and its huge coefficient(I chose math as my speciality) English and surprisingly History. How I managed to pass in History is a fucking mystery to me.

I hit University, captain of the zombies. Really didn’t give a shit. Almost failed my second year. Third year went more smoothly, masters required effort due to having quite a few projects but didn’t really teach us anything mind blowing. The research part of masters wasn’t properly evaluated, and somehow I managed to obtain a title I don’t deserve.

Decided to do a PhD, just barely got in thanks to some connections who over estimated my ability monumentally.


Overall, I don’t think I’ve ever been taught in a manner that has been palatable for my mode of reasoning. I have trouble following teachers most of the time. I am only really capable of learning when I do it at my own pace, sequencing information as I please.
I’m not very intelligent, but my intuition sometimes hands me tidbits that give an illusion of the contrary. I’m a sort of ghost INTP, not capable of reflecting to the level of detail that most of you are.
I may be a mistyped reject of sorts, crippled and using capacities that aren’t naturally developed in my case. I don’t know.
 

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@Richard--ha, I had a very similar experience growing up, except in my case my family moved to Puerto Rico after I had taken a year of French in school. I was 13 at the time and we spent 3 years there :) The language thing was really interesting, though, because I didn't have to put any effort into it... I just suddenly knew HOW to speak Spanish, sort of. And I call shenanigans on your "not very intelligent." You seem very lucid and insightful and ask excellent questions that get at the root of things. I see what you're saying about your academic experience, but you're the kind of student I would like to have.

@Ista: the comments on inflexibility, lack of ingenuity and how the college system discourages creative thought were striking to me. Education is my INFPish crusade (at all levels) and I completely agree with you about the flaws of the system that encourage production of parrots instead of thinkers. Would you say that that tendency lessens, though, as you move through the academic strata from undergrad to Master's to Ph.D.?

Also, can you please clarify your observation that academia "changes the world an INTP is playing in," in terms of dampening ingenuity? Is this related to what you were saying about inflexibility hampering the production of new ideas--that inflexibility governs the world of academia?

It's interesting because many people would argue that academic timetables are more flexible inherently; we don't have to be at work from 9-5, but rather have larger global deadlines for many things (although administrative tasks such as faculty meting schedules etc. work on a more rigid timetable). Also, unlike K-12 teachers, our teaching schedules and office hours are much more flexible in some ways. For the most part, it would seem like, at least for research and the planning/development parts of teaching, that you have a larger timespan (say 6 years till tenure review packets get turned in) and as long as you get the work done at some point during that span, you can manage your time (and location) however you want. The workload can be similar to other professionals (depending on your institution), but professors potentially have more freedom than other professionals to choose when and where to do their work.
 

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I did very well all through grade school and there are report cards saved where I had averages above 100 in many subjects. I graduated early and did well on the SATs/SAT IIs, so I got into a selective college. My first undergraduate experience was great, although I got caught up in partying somewhat and spent tons of time on extra-curriculars (was the editor of the school paper and had lots of internships, learned to do PR, learned some fundraising skills). Was at a school known for being progressive and for having a creative student body- met all kinds of great people who became a surrogate family. In my MA program, one of my professors told me I was the best student she ever had, and I was shocked, because I was hardly paying any attention to what was going on in her class. We used a forum extensively to write responses to the readings, and she apparently loved mine-- that format is great for INTPs, and I recommend online courses if you have the option. OTOH, I had a couple of my MA professors write me emails telling me to please speak up more in class to move discussions forward, and asking why I didn't participate more.

Took a media economics course, and had a guest speaker who had the class compete by making business models for a radio station, then testing them by seeing which one could make more money from advertisers (other classmates). He offered me a job and then continued to pester me with emails until I accepted his offer. That's how I ended up moving from biomedical grantwriting to pharmaceutical grants/CME programming.

At my current school, I had a hard time adjusting to the way material was taught, since I had never taken a lecture course before, or a multiple choice test. I had a 3.8 GPA for the first two years, and got scholarships, grants, awards. This pissed people off. The ultra competitive "pre-meds" got upset because I was doing well in chemistry courses, and didn't study as much as they did. Their ridiculous behavior (which snowballed way out of control, I'm honestly ashamed for them, and embarrassed thinking about it) and attempts to sabotage both my research and health turned me off to school and I gave up caring. Despite their best efforts, I scored in the 99th percentile overall on the GRE and got into the top program in my intended field for grad school.

I think this INTP does well in academic settings, but not the more traditional ones that focus on rote learning and grade grubbing. I have a hard time staying motivated when I can't do my best for fear of causing narcissistic injury to other students. So I don't try anymore. I am a little worried about the unstructured element of PhD programs, though, and advisor drama. Not so much the difficulty of the material.

@Richard

A lot of people who are very good at math are very bad at rote learning. The way they teach biology, if in France it's anything like we do here, just doesn't work well for me, and I'm not even great at math. I think we have similar cognitive styles. The only reason I end up doing well is because when I learn, it's permanent. So I never have to "relearn" stuff we've already covered. I may get a mediocre grade on a test, only to, six months later, be able to explain the material in depth to someone else.

You're definitely one of the smartest people I've met.
 

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When I was a kid, I came to the conclusion that grades are based entirely on doing your homework and not on what you actually know.
So doing homework was always a problem for me. I knew I needed to do it to keep my grades above failing, but I couldn't.

When test time came around, I'd do better than most of the other students. I think the first few times a teacher saw that, they were completely caught off guard and probably figured I cheated.



In high school, I was failing so badly I was about about two years behind my peers in terms of credits. It wasn't just the fact that I rarely did homework, I also started ditching school regularly. It was quite obvious what was happening, as I was just skipping the classes I didn't like or found dull. I don't think they had much trouble figuring it out when I'd always be absent for 4th and 5th period, but magically always be present for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th. They ended up giving me the option of being kicked out of school or getting put in a special class where you make up your credits.
This class was the best thing the public school system has ever done for me. I didn't have to sit there and listen to a teacher drone on for an hour then give me my assignment.
See the main difference between regularly schooling and this class was that, while I had to sit there for a few hours each day as a rule, I could spend that whole time doing my work. I could read what I needed and do the assignments right there. The only time the teacher would bother me was when he had to make sure I understood what was read and talked about. So it was 0% lecture, 50% class work, 50% tests. At home I could do whatever the hell I wanted because I usually finished my assignments that day in class.

Not to mention, the class wasn't everyday. IIRC, it was Mon, tues, weds.
So on Thursday and Friday, I would go to the mall and just walk around. It was nearly empty, it was relatively quiet and I could walk around and listen to my music, or watch a movie, or read a book and enjoy the cool breeze. I had an entire shopping mall to myself.

That was such a great time in my life.


TLDR: I did terribly in school because I couldn't be bothered to do the homework, or attend certain classes.
 

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@Richard again

It sounds like you had a rough transition into school in France which just did you in for a while. It's hard to learn in a foreign language, I found it tough studying abroad (to the extent that I did any work, heh...)

People underestimate how important it is to be generally content before you can be your cognitive best. I do think PhD programs would get more work, and higher quality work, out of grad students if they attended more to their overall well-being instead of adding unnecessary stress and drama to the whole thing.
 

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A lot of people who are very good at math are very bad at rote learning. The way they teach biology, if in France it's anything like we do here, just doesn't work well for me, and I'm not even great at math. I think we have similar cognitive styles. The only reason I end up doing well is because when I learn, it's permanent. So I never have to "relearn" stuff we've already covered. I may get a mediocre grade on a test, only to, six months later, be able to explain the material in depth to someone else.
When I was preadolescent I had a rather decent memory, and I wasn’t so hot with math(I’m still not very good at it). I believe my ability to abstract is fueled entirely by my intuition, and my conscious mind is rather impotent. Reasoning with something new, on the spot, usually results in disaster unless I feel my way through it as opposed to thinking about it. I have a great deal of trouble intuiting my way through a lecture though, given that the information is often fed to me in a sequence that mr intuition doesn’t appreciate.
As a child I used to be able to read passages of information in history and remember the phrasing perfectly, I could regurgitate answers word for word from the material. I hated the process though.

I get the feeling adolescence rewired my manner of thinking quite drastically. Now my memory is far more structural and I can’t rote memorise for shit. I pretty much have to relearn/reteach myself things all the time. It wastes a massive amount of time, having to work out how I drew a given conclusion 3 times over the space of a few hours. Certain bad habits, initial misinterpretations, stick with me forever and constantly bug my reasoning despite having consciously corrected the issue many times in the past.

As for biology, it was taught rather well here. We’d have to read a small chapter at home(which I never did), then analyse experiments that had been performed and explain the results based on what we had read. Sometimes I could wing it and work out the principle from the experiment alone, most of the time I’d wait until the teacher gave us the principle or told us to go back and read. In that fashion the information was very easy to digest.

When it came to writing the final exam, we had 2 years of work to revise. I didn’t bother to properly revise, but I’m pretty sure I was capable of passing(I had high marks most of the time, the substitute teacher thought I was a “genius”, all was well), but I failed. Either I made a serious mistake or I was penalised for shitty French.

I failed discrete math at uni(went to 2-3 lectures, then bailed) and largely didn’t understand the material. Then graph theory came along, I didn’t understand that at first until someone ran through an algorithm with me. Suddenly I could infer the semantics behind most of the notation, and I discovered that I understood a fair portion of discrete math too(to be fair it isn’t rocket science, I’m just a tard). After a while, I can be surprised at how information has sunken in and been refactorised during the process.

You're definitely one of the smartest people I've met.
Thanks, and likewise.

@Richard again

It sounds like you had a rough transition into school in France which just did you in for a while. It's hard to learn in a foreign language, I found it tough studying abroad (to the extent that I did any work, heh...)

People underestimate how important it is to be generally content before you can be your cognitive best. I do think PhD programs would get more work, and higher quality work, out of grad students if they attended more to their overall well-being instead of adding unnecessary stress and drama to the whole thing.
Yeah, it was rough, and not being super sociable I never tackled it as I should have(I think it severely retarded my social development in the process). As a result it’s still an issue for me, 10 years later.
My tutors haven’t really asked much of me, or gone out of their way to stress me. Teaching is an option, which I didn’t take as I started my PhD at roughly the same time as I had become ill.
The problem is the lack of structure, as you state, coupled with my complete lack of motivation and time management skills. I had hoped I would find a way of formulating short term goals and keeping on top of shit, but I suck at it.
 

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Yeah, it was rough, and not being super sociable I never tackled it as I should have(I think it severely retarded my social development in the process). As a result it’s still an issue for me, 10 years later.
My tutors haven’t really asked much of me, or gone out of their way to stress me. Teaching is an option, which I didn’t take as I started my PhD at roughly the same time as I had become ill.
The problem is the lack of structure, as you state, coupled with my complete lack of motivation and time management skills. I had hoped I would find a way of formulating short term goals and keeping on top of shit, but I suck at it.

I think you need to take some time off and go away on vacation, think hard about what you want, and go after it.
 

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A vacation would be awesome. The knowing what I want thing is a pipe dream though, I’ve never known.
I’ll keep on doing shit though, cos shit has to be done after all.
I had to stop everything and reevaluate my priorities at one point. It worked! Can't say the last few years have been pleasant, but I'm well on my way to achieving the goals I set and I'm looking forward to moving back to civilization soon.

No risk, no reward.
 

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I was all over the place in school.

At one point in elementary I was in Special Education because of disruptive behavior and the next year my teacher was trying to have my parents enter the "lottery"(for poor people) to be accepted into private school because I was an excellent student.

Then the next year I lost focus. Got it back again, became an excellent student up until around 10th grade and the went off the deep end. I managed to graduate but I started out in advanced classes with students who were probably smarter than me (although I could do the work) and ended up in regular and some remedial classes with students who were dumb as bricks.

Then I put off college for a few years, went, dropped out, and now I'm back again.

If you were suggesting academia in the teaching sense, no, I would never do it. I don't have the patience. I had some teachers and profs I really admired but I would get nothing from it, I do think you see many an INTP as the aging eccentric professor.
 

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I don't have much to say. Just that I've always sucked at school. I've always been average.
But...then again, once I leave a classroom, my mind acts like that class doesn't even exist.
There have been times after the weekend that school feels kinda surreal...that's how disconnected I get once I leave.

I'm trying to improve things this semester though.
 

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I don't have much to say. Just that I've always sucked at school. I've always been average.
But...then again, once I leave a classroom, my mind acts like that class doesn't even exist.
There have been times after the weekend that school feels kinda surreal...that's how disconnected I get once I leave.

I'm trying to improve things this semester though.
This is my issue, intense focus in the classroom and a complete and total disconnect when I'm not there.

I've always had the surreal feeling too, it helps me to sort of force myself to become obsessed with school and do a little extra reading outside of class, stay in contact with some students so I don't start to feel that disconnect and lose focus.
 

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Suddenly I could infer the semantics behind most of the notation, and I discovered that I understood a fair portion of discrete math too(to be fair it isn’t rocket science, I’m just a tard). After a while, I can be surprised at how information has sunken in and been refactorised during the process.
I do this all the time. At first, it's like I don't understand something at all, and it must seem like I don't to others, because they often act like I'm just being completely daft when I say "but..." or "wait...". What's going on is that I'm already asking all of these questions in my head trying to retrofit the new information to my "existing knowledge" mental apparatus. This requires that I blindly start trying to shove things where they might not want to go. But then when I get it, and it all fits together, I really get it. No need to repeat the procedure.

I wish I learned more in steps by processing bits of information, but I don't. I'm a top-down processor, not a bottom-up. I think most humans learn more efficiently when taught in a top-down fashion, where the big picture is explained and then details filled in. Bottom up is an iterative process, so it requires all kinds of trial and error, and takes so much longer. But I've noticed that most people think this way, so we're freaks and will be on the margins forever more.

:crazy:
 
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