Academia is the name given to all things school-related, whether it is with respect to the students in those schools, the teachers, the books that are being read and published for the purpose of education, or the entire culture revolving around those things. Simply put, academia is a broad subject. However, when this term is generally used, chances are that it refers to a much more refined piece. It is generally used to refer to a group of people that make their living off of, or are in pursuit of making their living off of, being college professors, academicians, researchers, and so on. This group of people is who are generally termed academics.
What Does it Mean to Have a Career in Academia?
Typically, a career in academia refers to positions in universities, colleges, or even elementary schools and secondary schools. Obtaining a college degree in most cases can typically prepare students for some kind of career in academia. Elementary, secondary, and higher secondary educational institutions provide a wide range of opportunities through which academic careers can be pursued. In some cases, they are sought by people who are already involved in a primary occupation, such as in the case of doctors or engineers who take on a second career as an educator within their own field. Academic work generally involves roles in administration, teaching, or counseling. This offers a perfect segue into the meat of this topic.
10 Benefits of Pursuing a Career in Academia
A career in this field can open up a lot of doors, especially if you are looking for positions related to the pursuit of higher education.
Many Ph.D. scholars choose to pursue a career in academia because of their passion fpr teaching. They can stay within their comfort zone, continue post-PhD research, and educate the younger generation. There are very few other professions out there that offer the opportunity of having such a profound long-term impact on students’ lives.
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A subset of teaching is mentorship. Mentoring students is a part of academic life that a lot of professors find immensely rewarding. They take quite a lot of pride in helping students prosper in their careers and achieve professional development.
When a person works in academia, they have the freedom to determine what they want to research and lead a team to pursue the same. Even though it is their responsibility to secure it, they are also in complete control of the funding for their work.
Freedom Over The Time They Have
Academics have all the freedom in the world free to decide how they want to spend their time. Apart from their teaching obligations, researchers and professors also get to decide what projects they work on every day and when. They are not bound to the traditional 9-5 work hours, which allows academics to spend their time on things they consider to be on priority and on the projects which they deem to have the most value.
Do What They Love All the Time
Academia is one of those careers where people get to do what they love and essentially never work a day in their life ever again. At other jobs, a person might only get to work on something that interests them for a few hours of a day, or maybe not even get to work on something that even interests them in the slightest. However, an academic gets to devote all of their time and energy to their research and pursuing their passions.
Almost Complete Autonomy
In comparison to corporate and industry jobs, academic positions have dramatically less oversight. One of the biggest advantages of being an academic is that they do not have a direct boss to report to - they only have one in administrative terms. The researcher is given almost complete control of the funds they are given and the research that they are pursuing.
Opportunities for Collaboration
A university environment actively promotes thinking across multiple disciplines and research. It makes it easier for them to approach and collaborate with experts on almost any topic under the sun.
Academics who are on tenure enjoy a kind of job security that hardly ever exists in the corporate world. Tenure offers people in academia both financial security as well as the freedom to take risks when it comes to pursuing new lines of research or projects that can take up to several years to see results.
Have a Long-Lasting Impact in Their Field
In academia, there is significantly less pressure to hit short-term goals which allows them to take a long-term approach to problem-solving. They are given the space and freedom to focus on finding the best solution available, not the one that will not just work for right now. This means academics generally conduct research on and tackle problems that can have a significant impact on the field.
Academics get several opportunities to travel to different countries and places of interest depending on the field. Opportunities to travel arise right from the graduate student level. They generally attend national and international conferences a couple of times a year. In some disciplines, they may even get a chance to research or do fieldwork over an extended period of time in another country or several other countries.
If you are someone interested in your field of study to such an extent that you want to dedicate your life to its development, then a career in academia would be ideal for you. You will get to explore different aspects of your subject, in sub-topics of your own choosing, doing research in sub-fields that only a few would even think about - all at the expense of either the government or university funding.