Total Drek

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ah, that brings back memories.

A colleague of mine recently let me know that a momentous event has taken place: he has had his first journal submission rejected. This news, as it happens, really takes me back.

I remember my own first response from a journal as though it were yesterday. The suspense, the anticipation, the yearning for it to happen! And then- then- the day arrived. I hurriedly opened the letter and discovered in that moment that, in fact, I was destined for a long string of disappointing failures. It also became apparent that some people hate my work so much that they would kill me just to watch me die. So, you know, more than anything it reminded me of dating in high school.

My colleague is, of course, responding to the news pretty much the way we all do. He's even debating his possible future- be it a continuation in sociology, a change to a related field, or even conquest and feudal domination of his own principality. In response to all this I can only say:

Huzzah, my friend, huzzah! Welcome to that ancient and honorable club of scholars who have been politely informed by their peers that they do, in fact, suck shit through a tube. This may be your first rejection, and it won't be your last, but it is all the same a beginning. This is how many of us start and it is the membership fee into a club that includes your entire discipline. Welcome to that sacred siblinghood of scholars who have been dissed by journals.

Look up, my comrade, because now the worst is behind you.*


* Not counting the dissertation itself which, as far as I can tell, is universal in its inspiration of self-loathing and despair, or the tenure process, which is sufficiently stress-inducing as to be lethal to the average human being. Only academics whose egos have been sufficiently toughened by piles of journal rejections are prepared to withstand is depredations.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mister Troll said...

Like dating in high school - what a great analogy!

My first rejection (journal-wise; high school is a different story. Ahem) was neat. The reviewers were specialists in different sub-fields and recommended publication essentially based on the portion of the paper that was in the other's specialty (I hope that was clear). We were trapped: even though both reviewers recommended publication, the editor saw through it. Bah.

Does your field/school have an external reviewer for the thesis defence? That can be entertaining. At least with journal articles, nobody reads the reviewer's comments out loud in public!

(Wait, they send you reviewers' comments in the mail? As in the real meal? Somehow that blows my mind.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 6:30:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

We DO typically get the actual reviewer comments, though whether it's e-mail or snail mail depends on the journal. Anymore I think most are on e-mail but there are a few holdouts.

Whether or not there's an external reviewer for theses depends on the program, actually. Some places have them some don't. I ain't telling which is true of me.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:49:00 AM  

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