I read a letter in which one professor wrote that he was scrambled up a very steep learning curve to understand nature of his new work. If the professor was qualified for the new job why he scrambled up and was "scrambled up" right word to use above sentence?

I understand "scrambled up" as a attempt to reach quickly to something with panic or urgency.

  • 4
    "He was scrambled up the steep curve," or "He scrambled up the steep curve"?
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 23 at 11:43
  • It must be nice to never start a job unless you are fully prepared and know how to do everything that will be required of you. Sadly, the real world often isn't like that, and even a PhD doesn't qualify you to do everything a professor may be asked to do.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 23 at 14:49
  • Stuart F, I see your point and I agree with you. Thanks!
    – Bileg
    Sep 24 at 4:36
  • Related: What is meant by "steep learning curve"?.
    – jsw29
    Sep 24 at 16:46

Scrambling is a verb meaning to climb over boulders or rough ground. It's like "climbing, but not as vertical", if you know what I mean,

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scramble has it as:

1: the act or an instance of scrambling: such as
a: the act of moving or climbing over something quickly especially on all fours,
  eg "scramble over the boulders"

This professor is using it in the metaphorical sense, implying that his progression up the learning curve was not easy or smooth, and perhaps also a bit rushed, or not as under control as he would have liked.

  • Max, I got that, thanks!
    – Bileg
    Sep 24 at 4:36
  • This is probably the correct reconstruction of what the author intended by this awkward metaphor, but it should be noted that the metaphor is awkward and that it wouldn't be a good idea to reuse it.
    – jsw29
    Sep 24 at 16:50
  • @jsw29 total opinion of course, but i think it's fine as a slightly self-deprecating metaphor. Sep 27 at 12:51

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