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This is even more the case at public schools where large class sizes make it even more difficult for research-dedicated professors to engage with students. However, I think it's interesting that the article doesn't really mention cynical "good" students when I think I know more cynical "good" students than cynical bad students or plain "good" students. In particular, several of my friends are international students who pay essentially 4x the tuition I pay. That gives them an extreme incentive to go through college as efficiently as possible. This usually means attending a minimal amount of lectures, self-studying, and only showing up to turn in homework and take exams.

At a public school, especially in an engineering department, there often isn't much a difference between professor and a talking head reading off information from a student's perspective. In fact, one of the things that motivated cynical students quickly realize is that not only is self-study often more efficient than than the traditional go to lecture and take notes approach--it's often a far superior way to learn and you can easily find yourself outperforming students who diligently go to class. Cynical students quickly see through the facade of going to class for the sake of going to class.

The resources at a public school aren't about teaching.

Instead of

+Attend lecture

+Engage with professor who teaches your class

+Complete Assignments

+Take Exams

The flow becomes

+Study out of the textbook

+Complete Assignments

+Take Exams

+Engage with a professor on a research level and try to get out a publication

+Or forgo the research somewhat and try to graduate as soon as possible

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