I like this list of “Laws of Academic Life” from Sir David Watson, winner of the Times (U.K.) Higher Education’s 2009 Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award.
Here are a few of them:
* Academics grow in confidence the farther away they are from their true fields of expertise (what you really know about is provisional and ambiguous, what other people do is clear-cut and usually wrong)
* You should never go to a school or department for anything that is in its title (which university consults its architecture department on the estate, or – heaven forbid – its business school on the budget?)
* The first thing a committee member says is the exact opposite of what she means (“I’d like to agree with everything the vice-chancellor has just said, but…”; or “with respect”…; or even “briefly”)