A person like me, who teaches and conducts research at an academic institution, is called “academic.” The academic institution may be a form of a university, a college or another post-secondary institution. I have been working in universities for almost eleven years. While enjoying my life in academia, we “academics” also have a lot of stress and often go through a large amount of stress and frustration.
Firstly, we have pressure from the university we are working at to become effective teachers. As the environment (in terms of the society and the marketplace) has become more dynamic and competitive, we, as teachers, must provide students with necessary skills and knowledge so they can become successful in their society. It requires a lot of preparation, updating of material, self-learning, and continuous improvement in teaching. For these reasons, teaching and learning should complement each other.
Secondly, we have pressure from both our university and our academic peers to become active and effective researchers. What we teach to our students in class is no doubt closely related to what we have learned or discovered from our research activities.
Thirdly, we have pressure from the university and the community to become good corporate citizens through active participation in various university committees and/or the community at large. A university and the community it belongs to must work closely together to identify common interests and to conduct projects that could benefit both parties.
Even with a high degree of the aforementioned pressures, I love my job as a teacher, scholar, and citizen. There is a high level of freedom and flexibility. Academia is a place to meet new people, to create new ideas, and for everyone in that community to learn. It is a place where both teaching and learning always take place.