People who are used to being good at what they do get set impossible tasks by elders they look up to, and the students have their faces ground in their failures. Everything is designed to encourage self-doubt. This is not an accident. Graduate school is not just about teaching certain specific skills; it is about breaking down your old persona to make room for a new one, to turn out a certain kind of person. It has evolved so that authority figures make it very clear that the new inductees possess no accomplishments of any worth — but that if they work very hard, beyond ordinary expectation, they can emerge as the peers of the authorities, the only kind of person worthy of respect, members for life of the fraternity.
Hazing is not education. The idea that a computer science grad program should “break people down” to “make way for a new person” is a little creepy.(via lifeandcode)
This is not limited to CS, but has wide play in arts and humanities too