Are professors intimidated by intelligent students?

Discussion in 'University And Schools' started by ItuExchange, Jan 13, 2017.

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    Why or why not?

    Not at all.

    Think about what causes intimidation. It's a lack of confidence in yourself when faced with someone who you think is better/smarter/stronger/.... If you're confident in who you are and what you've accomplished, then there's no fear or intimidation when faced with someone who is better than you.

    If you're lucky enough to get a PhD, work on interesting research problems, and work in the same community as the top people in your field, then you have to come to grips with your own limitations. You have to accept the fact that no matter how good you are, or how much better you can get with age and experience and hard work, there will always be those who are better than you, smarter, faster, more creative or knowledgeable than you. It's just the way the world works.

    Chances are you're not the next Stephen Hawking, or Linus Pauling, Newton, Tesla or DaVinci. Even they had to contend with contemporaries who were often better, faster, or luckier. So you have to manage that ego. Otherwise, you'd just go nuts. I've been lucky enough to work in a community with some truly exceptional people, and I'm happy to call some of the smartest people I've ever met my friends and colleagues. But if I constantly compared myself and competed with them, I would literally be a complete mess.

    So my point is that by the time you get to be a professor, chances are you've already known and worked with some of the best minds on the planet, minds that force to you accept your own limitations on a daily basis. I've met, taught, and mentored some exceptionally intelligent students. And certainly a number of them have been smarter than me, some much smarter. But we're confident in what we've accomplished and who we are, and just hope that these great students with huge potential can have the same luck that we've had, and fulfill their potential.

    (EDIT): I have to say I am very surprised by the # of views and votes this answer has received. I had no idea this question was of such interest to students and Quora users in general. Still puzzled as to why it's so interesting.


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