Why I Became A Scholar Hero: An Anecdote from Nathan Repp

When asked to introduce myself, I wondered what I should say:

  • I’m excited to be enlisted by an outstanding startup.

  • I’m an English graduate from the University of Pittsburgh.

  • My favorite band is someone you’ve totally never heard of, or

  • I sometimes cry during the third act of The Last Samurai.

While all of that is true (except the last one…), it says little about me or how I fit into Scholar Hero’s mission. The best thing to do is to provide an anecdote that first sparked my interest in changing academia:

The English Room at The University of Pittsburgh. (Photo Source: iris http://www.flickr.com/photos/irisphotos/)

The English Room at The University of Pittsburgh. (Photo Source: iris http://www.flickr.com/photos/irisphotos/)

As an English major, sharing work was an absolute necessity. When peer review was a course requirement, the method of distribution and response was archaic: e-mailing, printing, and physical circulation. Good responses were valuable but limited by the size of the class and the number of assignments.

For all of my other pursuits, there were few collaborative options, such as workshops for my other classes, and a commuting student like myself struggled to attend everything.

A common view for a commuter at Pitt. (Photo Source: Desiree Williams http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddhakiwi/)

A common view for a commuter at Pitt. (Photo Source: Desiree Williams http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddhakiwi/)

Since then, I’ve found circles to share my work, but after a year out of the university, I often get the impression that it’s “me vs. world.”  If any environment should have accessible support for scholarly pursuits, it’s academia.

Am I alone in my sentiments? Please share your own academic experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero. The views and opinions expressed of this particular blog belong solely to those of the author and not of Scholar Hero, Inc.

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