Grad school academic hazing

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    growing up as a kid, i worked through steady and consistently harder steps from elementary school to middle school to high school and then to college

    there were no huge jumps in time needed for reading, writing, homework, etc

    and then i entered graduate business school, from the same school i studied business subjects during my bachelor's degree, but they really socked it to me...what were once 4 page papers became 14 page papers, what was once an A was thrown back to me for a total rewrite

    when i would rewrite the paper, i only made minor changes and then the paper was deemed an A, but i suspected they told me my first draft was bad just to see how i would handle the pressure...hazing, basically

    even the professor told the entering class that all the first papers he read were "bull dung" but he only liked one...and he found out this person had done a phd program previously in another field..and he tells the class that we have to be like her

    and every year, this foolish abuse is repeated and many colleges/universities lose a lot of potential master's/phd students in the first class

    .......

    now i am in law school and while i don't particularly find the work intellectual (like chemistry, learning a foreign language to be an interpreter, game theory, or physics), but more massive in volume if anything of a lot of redundant reading, i just don't get the concept of pitting students against each other

    and the professors treat us like 5th graders, and not like college students or even high school students (and some fall into the brain washing and get into fist fights at the law school bar hangout or put out restraining orders on students they don't like)

    how does that make somebody learn the law any better?

    to me, it's just another form of grad school hazing

    i thought hazing was the territory of an immature mind

    ....

    your experiences?
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    My feeling is: I don't care. ;)


    Then they lose those students. They couldn't take the jump in quality level you need for real professional work. There are no "letter grades" in real life. You can't submit a 'C' or 'D' in real life. It needs to be an 'A+' every single time. If they feel like quitting because they think "this is hazing, and it's bulls***" (i.e.: "They're expecting more, and I can't keep find the motivation to work even harder"), when in reality, they were getting "hazed" because their work really was crap, then I don't feel so bad.

    If I ever tried to get my research published, and I submit a paper that's anything less than stellar, there's no chance my paper would ever get through the peer review process.

    Notice how one student was singled out as having submitted excellent work, and that person happened to have a PhD. That's not a coincidence. ;) The professor just expects you all to realize your work is s***, and you can't submit that level of work at the academic level you just stepped into. I don't consider that a hazing.
     
  3. egor macrumors regular

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    #3
    If the poster's work was "****", then why did he only have to make a few changes when resubmitting, rather than a complete rewrite as was suggested?

    Will be starting undergrad study soon, so the highest level of my experiences so far has been studying for a college Diploma. But, I remember on multiple occasions being told my work was missing x, y and z. What I did was **** all, I just resubmitted with no changes made and came out with top marks. In my case I knew that the markers just hadn't read my work, perhaps rather than it being hazing it's more a case of laziness?
     
  4. souldawg macrumors member

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    #4


    Exactly. I do PR for a law firm and so I get to see it from the inside. You can't have an A- at a top law firm or you could lose a client which means less money. I've seen associates sent back numerous times to fix things, be put on the spot and expect to know every aspect of a corporate deal and client history.

    Truth is law school is cake compared to a real law firm environment. It's the training wheels. Getting in a top tier corporate firm means all-nighters to get deals done, multiple days in a row. It means fighting with an incoming associate class of 50 people to try and win one of 5-6 spots for a new partner position after six or seven years of extremely hard graft. It means being able to be willing to be not given credit for doing absolutely error free work, drafting documents and researching while others get the glory. All the time, there will be one lead associate who instead of you will be the golden child getting the praise from the lead partner. If you can't handle law school, do you think you can handle this?
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    When you're asked to change it, you change it. If he doesn't, it seems arrogant. The fact that he wasn't caught for doing this may be due to laziness of the reviewers the 2nd time around, which is, essentially, basing things on luck. Again, one student was singled out as someone who did a good job. Coincidentally, that person also has a PhD. All that means to me is that the reviewers/evaluators got lazy the 2nd time, but again, do you want to graduate because of someone elses laziness? Another lecturer may not be that lazy, and you'll still not know what people are expecting from you.

    How would you reply if they asked you why you didn't change anything? If I marked your highschool or paper you wrote while earning your college diploma, you'd get an even lower mark the 2nd time.
     
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    thanks very much for the replies

    i have looked around forums of lawyers/grad business students/phd students over the net and two basic theories came up over and over:

    1) it is hazing and it's a time honored tradition that builds character

    i remember an internship where we were supposed to be entertainment industry "managers" and they literally made us the waiters and trash clean up crew at a PR event :) ... it was very humbling and come to think of it now, it put us down to earth knowing that 99% percent of rock-pop star/movie star entertainment MBAs are going to be working, and working hard, for a high school graduate, or younger like a hannah montana, brittney spears, elijah wood and if you are an entertainment MBA and you even get within 100 feet of any pop star, consider yourself lucky, even with low pay

    one mentor i went to during entertainment MBA training was a person who managed jimi hendrix and lynard skynard, for beer and drugs only in the early days...so anything i had to go through in school cannot compare in hardship to what this person went through

    rock stars/pop starts don't start rich, even if they are mildly famous, and the management staff have to live the roach infested motels they do, act as bodyguards to the band including beating the tar out of some members at times, bailing band members out of jail after a concert riot they started, etc. (i know no school that teaches the pop entertainment business on the MBA level can replicate that)

    one unnamed band manager, while a master acct. on one side, managed his personnel issues with a baseball bat and our school sent MBAs his way as he liked to use us...i didn't apply :)

    2) the other theory i got from many master's and phd holders is that hazing should stop and real learning should be promoted

    teach what you will see in the field, act like a professional, and treat each other like professionals

    ditch the treating the grad students like 5th graders

    but market forces can make the work hard with very little pay:

    not all become dentists and doctors who are plastic surgeons

    i knew some grad students in some fields (etomology, marine biology) who landed very prestigious jobs working for cousteau, monterey bar aquarium, the history channel, etc for slave wages...and some after finishing their degree, many see much of a pay raise

    as one person put it, "fish don't pay that well these days, and rarely carry cash"

    many phd workers get paid only by donation monies in certain fields and make very little...at least compared to eight years of college and maybe that's not hazing, but the marketplace and some hazing and free work could make the person prepared for a lifetime of rewarding hard work but very little pay

    ........

    in the end, i do see both sides to the coin, but i prefer scholarship over working/watching some manager keep his rock stars in line with a louisville slugger ;)
     
  7. egor macrumors regular

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    #7
    I'd point out that if they'd read it properly they'd note it had already everything they requested be added and more, some of which was beyond their understanding. The laziness wasn't on the second read through, it was on the first one.
     
  8. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #8
    Here's a fun example. I'm in med school, and we've had a problem with our unit exams not being written very well. Many questions are vague or unclear (according to one of my friends, the associate dean remarked that he would probably thrown out a good chunk of one of our tests on that basis). On one exam, several questions covered material we had not yet been taught. When the unit director came in to address the class on this matter, he accepted that they had screwed up in writing the exam, but told us that we shouldn't be upset, and in fact, should feel very fortunate...Why? Because "there are babies being born with neonatal AIDS," so we have nothing to complain about.
     
  9. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #9
    that's the "some have it harder than you do" remark that i got in MBA school and law school

    our intro instructor in the MBA program told us about how hard he had it and the true stress he suffered...he was a navy captain in charge of a nuclear submarine and told us about his big responsibility and a few scary moments, namely the cuban missle crisis

    "if you can't take a life in order to save others, you shouldn't be a captain of a nuclear submarine or an MBA"

    ...interestingly, this was right on the eve of huge layoffs and major outsourcing to india and china (in part executed by the top MBAs of major corporations in the name of staying competitive)...i would liken that to a business war where a lot of the casualties were the everyday american worker who lost their job and the MBAs who knowingly would lead their workers into a pit of layoffs, all in the name of the corporation and the bottom line (i sat through class after class as students got indoctrinated into this form of global business)

    i thought that was kind of extreme, but i got his message, but still thought it to be unappropriate and out of context
     
  10. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #10
    Yeah, this line of thinking doesn't logically follow, and it is troubling when academics, who one would hope are grounded in reason, resort to this sort of senseless argument.
     
  11. Azmordean macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Hmm, you just pointed out every reason why I will never work for a big law firm. Well, except the A+ work requirement - that's nonsense for most big firms - as long as you are churning out the billable hours of course. The whole incoming associate thing is a big "game" to see who is single-minded, soulless enough, and money hungry enough to be able to work 80 hours a week and ignore their friends, hobbies, and families, and be willing to enter the proverbial "gladiatorial pit" with their fellow associates. The rest are "weeded out" and move on to successful careers in government, smaller firms, the non-profit sector, and outside of the law. Those who remain in the practice of law likely see more intellectual stimulation, more court time, and learn more than their big firm colleagues do for years.

    I point this out so the OP realizes that there are more things to do with a law degree than waste your life in the crock of bulls*** that is "BigLaw." To those people who are workaholics and truly love that life, more power to them. But to the majority who don't, I encourage them not to force themselves into it - look elsewhere!! Don't let the big bucks lure you, they are a fool's ransom.

    To the OP: Don't let law school scare you. They just want to weed out those who aren't committed to it - because, honestly, it IS way more work than college. Mostly volume of work, particularly reading, rather than difficulty, but more work nonetheless. Keep good study habits, don't become a law school alcoholic, and realize that law school is a means to an end, and you'll be just fine. If you want some more info re: law school, by all means PM me.

    PS: Souldawg - please do not interpret this as a personal attack on you, as its decidedly not. I'm just trying to make crystal clear that there ARE alternatives out there for the vast majority of young law grads who don't want the big firm life.


     
  12. souldawg macrumors member

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    #12
    No offense taken. That's why I do PR for the firm and am not a lawyer myself. Interesting fact, I would say about 50% of the PR people for big law firms have law degrees themselves!
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #13
    They have to learn how to lie first, then they learn how to spin. :p
     
  14. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #14
    that's the "some have it harder than you do" remark that i got in MBA school and law school

    our intro instructor in the MBA program told us about how hard he had it and the true stress he suffered...he was a navy captain in charge of a nuclear submarine and told us about his big responsibility and a few scary moments, namely the cuban missle crisis

    "if you can't take a life in order to save others, you shouldn't be a captain of a nuclear submarine or an MBA"

    ...interestingly, this was right on the eve of huge layoffs and major outsourcing to india and china (in part executed by the top MBAs of major corporations in the name of staying competitive)...i would liken that to a business war where a lot of the casualties were the everyday american worker who lost their job and the MBAs who knowingly would lead their workers into a pit of layoffs, all in the name of the corporation and the bottom line (i sat through class after class as students got indoctrinated into this form of global business)

    i thought that was kind of extreme, but i got his message, but still thought it to be unappropriate and out of context
     
  15. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #15
    i think when almost any case is presented, one will see that nothing is black and white

    take constitutional law, isn't that supposed to be black and white? - but see how many justices agree on every article or amendment...and read the sore loser dissents and the hyperbole (anybody can get a great laugh from reading some of those)

    ironically, the most contradictory, fact stretching law personnel i have ever seen are judges

    one judge who oversees moot courts in many different law schools like to end his assessment that the particular law school that put it one as the best he has ever seen in his life, and that they could compete better than harvard

    also, he states that these students are better prepared than the attorneys he sees from day to day

    and then the non law audience who came to see the competitions give a standing ovation

    i just have to roll my eyes...and then i see how many law schools get similar accolades in their moot court competitions

    sometimes i get attacked for having studied a legal course of study in my undergraduate years and now, many years later, i am studying law

    but look at accounting for instance...the trusted profession...many profs will concede in the first semester of an undergrad class that it is as much an art as it is a science

    heck, pick any field and see how competition makes people stab each other in the back, bear false witness, bully, and make convenient friendships as long as it works

    ...

    that being said, i have met more scary lawyers and law students on average than any other field, with maybe the exception for accountants (with an agenda) and real estate agents

    i think law itself attracts many of the wrong people for the wrong reasons but ironically, many of the best attorneys are these "wrong" people, who may not fit very well in other professions

    i know a sociopath, if he were not an attorney, might otherwise be the son of sam if he were out of work...he literally has that charles manson stare...the way i see it, being an attorney for him and having a job he fits into with his personality, is better than the alternative

    when i showed the lsat to a person from the ghetto, they proceeded in answering every question right and said that the whole test was "basic street sly wrapping", and hardly able to get one able to survive on the steets of harlem

    ...

    my current profession is making skateboards/clothing and people from my generation who got into the sport were more often than not, troubled tough kids, even troubled tough rich kids

    when i look at my customers, every skateboarder i have met from the old days over 40, has a local jail or prison tattoo and they took the paths of gator, early hosoi, and early jay adams

    if i embark on a law career and see a lot of wayward lawyers, it will be familiar territory to the older school skateboarders i see who are either on meth, just out of treatment, or are between batches of cooking some up for sale (the surf bums in town are seen with some respect, but the skate bums make people wary ;) )
     
  16. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #16
    I was referring in the main to tort lawyers, the most famous being Dewey, Screwem and Howe. :D

    Oh, and criminal lawyers that are hardly "friendly" to the court. ;)
     
  17. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #17
    i know the calls for tort reform and both sides dig deep to make their argument

    without the rule of law, we would (possibly) have anarchy, so it's good that we have law and are (maybe) a tiny bit better off

    there is no perfection in law and if one wants to find a place to attack law in the united states, one need look no further than torts

    lawyers i know, when out on non work situations, make a great effort not to tell anyone they are lawyers, because so many negative myths abound about the profession

    what bugs me is when the press attaches themselves to someone like ted bundy and it's generally and popularly assumed his law training is a major factor in what led him to do what he did

    ted bundy was crazy, insane, violent, sociopathic, what have you, and he would have done what he did whether he studied law, christianity, or C++ programming
     
  18. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #18
    I'm not real sure what school you go to but this didn't happen to me ever. I did my undergrad at one school and went onto grad school somewhere completely different. I did that so the same teachers weren't teaching me the same things. Yes, 4 page papers turned into 14. This seems to be something you can rely on if you're attempting to earn a more advanced degree. Hazing? Hardly! A teacher sending something back for a rewrite based on a few errors? Still I don't think I'd see it as hazing. I would be frustrated but I could reduce frustration by trying hard not to repeat the errors.

    Perhaps it is hazing on the net, as you've already pointed out. But for some reason it just seems like this is a good time to say that if you can't take it or don't like it then perhaps this isn't the school for you. Again, I went to two entirely different colleges and never once experienced this "hazing" ritual.
     
  19. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #19
    all i can say is that you probably handle stress better than most and are an exceptional scholar

    google this topic and you will find thousands of testimonies similar to mine

    in my law school, we have had MDs, dentists, Princeton PhDs, and many other "smart" people, but nobody has ever finished our law school over an 81%
     

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