How to be an Academic in Five Easy Steps

1. At every opportunity, impress upon others the importance and relevance of your field of study. All other fields are inferior.

2. Remember that your field is connected to everything. It is a lens through which everything is to be viewed. Continuously look for ways in which you can connect your field to disparate events and ideas. (The conflict in Georgia? Caused by poor financial planning. Or a grave ethical problem. Whatever you're studying.)

3. Emphasize that your field is infinitely complex and far beyond the grasp of the average person. Practice saying this in the most condescending way possible: "I'd love to explain XYZ Theory, but the differential equations are a little over your head...I better not get into it."

4. Obviously, a PhD is necessary to even begin to understand. After all, if any schmuck could learn this stuff in a few minutes, then your PhD would be useless.

5. "It depends..." is the best answer to every question. The good academics stopped really answering questions many years ago.

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