I had a conversation last night with a friend from undergraduate days, who transferred from an Ivy League school to save money and had a hard time because the University of California was so much more demanding academically. He did not get into a strong M.S. program or any Ph.D. program.
Him: How are you? You sound tired.
Me: I am fine. I am just a bit drained right now because I am just coming off of teaching three classes, three topics, managing three groups of people, 1.5 hours each. This is a bit more social than it is easy for me to be, I do better with just two such groups in a day, but I am fine otherwise.
Him: I had lecture and lab, a total of four hours for one course in a given day when I was a student. That is a lot more demanding intellectually than anything you could be doing. (This is a person who keeps telling me to use coffee table books for culture courses and does not understand why I put work into teaching since “it is just the same class all the time, isn’t it?”)
Me: Well, having done the same and also taught it, a lot, all I can tell you is that for me, managing and running something like that is more draining than being a participant. It sounds as though you probably find management of large, diverse groups and attending to different and disparate needs a lot easier than I do. I would love to be that way, given the kind of very scheduled, very social, very crowd-management oriented academic jobs I usually have.
You can tell why this person had difficulty at the university and was not allowed to go on. And this is what arrogance really is — not someone who actually is good, knowing that they are.