I went to visit some practitioners working in my field. Although I like very much being a professor, I always feel a bit wistful when I talk to them—they seem to enjoy what they are doing, and often the practice is (well) ahead of the theory. They solve interesting applied problems.
It is also quite invigorating talking to practitioners—they routinely use the underlyg ideas in my field in sophisticated, clever, and creative ways. I can see directly the value-added in what we teach in the classroom. And what matters is a deep and clear understanding of the basic ideas and how to apply them, not knowing the correct buzzwords and so on. Being able to explain is at least as valuable as the technical stuff.
I always leave wondering if I have what it takes to be successful in in the real world. I am a bit scared to find out.
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