I just got a pretty crushing rejection after working on a journal article for weeks. This is the part of the career path that I (and I’m sure most of my peers) struggle with the most. It’s often very difficult to get any positive reinforcement in a solitary career like academia, so each rejection or harsh criticism feels that much more painful. It’s especially difficult when running on the wheel of casual teaching.
I’m struggling in particular with the “The reviewers do know what they are saying” section. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when your phd work is harshly critiqued.
How do you deal with rejection and critique?
This post is by Dr Judy Robertson who is a senior lecturer in computer science at
Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and Chief Cat Herder for the undergraduate computer science programme there. Judy is a blogger as well as a contributing author to the amusing collaborative internet novel in progress “Granite University”.
My academic ego is shattered. I recently had a ~£1m grant proposal rejected. I feel like a million dollars in the red. Academia is tough on the ego. The stakes are high, and for this particular funding stream, there is only one chance to get the proposal perfect. The proposal took me a large proportion of last summer to write and a huge amount of thought.
Fortunately, like most mid career academics, my ego is plenty big enough to cope. It could even do with slimming down. As Scarlett O’Hara famously said “I’ll write another proposal tomorrow”.
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