Howdy everyone! This is my first post for the blog Embracing Life with Major Revisions. For those who aren’t in academia, professors at all ranks don’t just teach. Quite the contrary. They teach, but they also have to do the following given varying levels of time and effort:
- Serve on committees
- Create committees for others to serve on
- Serve as mentors to students
- Serve as mentors to new faculty members (something I haven’t yet experienced because I’ve been the one needing mentoring) #everyday #allday
- Serve as the department “strange one” who wears cat shirts to meetings and insists that you acknowledge it when she enters the room
- Serve others candy from your candy stash (and it ain’t the bad candy either. Nope, it’s York Peppermint patties and Peanut Butter MnMs. Only the best for my office. Get those nasty Worthers Originals outta here).
- Teach others how to teach
- Teach others how to write appropriate emails that don’t begin with “YO SUP PROF.” #LOLOLOLOLOL #DELETE
- Teach others how to use online platforms that crash.
- Teach others that the online platforms are inconsistent and frustrating by sending passionate emails that eventually reach the highest chain of the IT command at the institution
- Write a lot.
- Write about writing how you aren’t writing a lot
- Write a blog post about how you’re terrified of writing, but you have to do it because it’s part of the being a professor (assistant professor for now).
- Write to others about how we should write more together
- Write a text to a colleague about how you have TOO many collaborations and you’ve suddenly found yourself in a LA 405 rush hour bottleneck of things to do and you just don’t know which one to focus on first. There’s not proverbial HOV lane for this work.
- Write a blog post about anything else instead.
So because writing is such an important part of my job, I also have to have someone else read that writing and give me comments and feedback about it. This is the ultimately terrifying part of the job. I am terrified that people will find out that I am a fraud or phony and the University of Arizona will retract my degree and erase all images and video of my graduation ceremony. Unless they Men In Black erase the memories of everyone who was there in 2012, that probably is unlikely to happen… but it’s my fear.
So when you submit a manuscript for review, the reviewers look at it and give feedback to that work (which. takes. YEARS. sometimes.) and then make a decision as to what happens to it next (+2 years). Does it get rejected and lit up in an effigy like a Nordic burial ceremony with a single lit arrow streaming across an empty field? Is it accepted with minor revisions, which is like a white rabbit in the field that you’re trying to chase? That rarely happens. Is it accepted with major revisions (the more likely scenario of the “accept” decision tree)? And if so, are those major revisions ones that you’re willing to make to your work or do they contradict your original intention? Think of it like “So I really like the way that you teach Craig, but instead of teaching elementary math methods, I want you to teach neuroscience for gazelles.” Uh no. Not an appropriate revision. Next. But tell me more about the neuroscience of gazelles. Does that come with a considerable pay raise and a grad assistant? I might be interested…
Accepted with major revisions is a great decision to receive in my work because it means that people have at least accepted the basic premise of your argument and are willing to work with you on making it better, stronger, faster, and smarter. But it also means that you have to be willing to read/digest/accept/reject those suggestions. And that can sometimes be harder than writing the paper itself. Because someone sees your work differently and that can come to a shock, especially if you’ve invested a ton of time in a piece and every work is precious and sacred. But you’re not going to know how people are receiving your work and if it is helping towards the greater goal in the field if you don’t at least submit something. But just because you might get a rejection that doesn’t mean that you aren’t good. It feels like it. It sucks. Lots of crying involved. Maybe a few glasses of wine sprinkled with your tears to make the pain of rejection go away, but the rejection should not be a direct reflection of YOU as a human being for all of time and eternity.
Which brings me to the title of this blog. Embracing life with major revisions. I know I could make a whole DIY HGTV show out of the things I wish I could change about myself, but that is selfish, self-centered, and would have waaaaaaay too many references to cats in it. #INeedMoreCat. Instead, this blog/website is intended to be a place where I consider life as a teacher, researcher, and servant to the community as a working draft. Every day I’ll try a little harder to be a better person, to be a kinder person, and to be a smarter person than the day before. I might not always get there right away, but the goal still remains.
The blog/website is also serving as a place for me to share the work that I am doing with my pre-service and in-service teachers. You’ll find group worthy tasks, videos of my friends’ children solving problems (with their permission of course), and maybe papers that might be thought-provoking. This won’t be a place where I’ll just rant for the sake of ranting, but it’ll certainly be a platform where I’ll push and challenge what I hear and see in the world. I hope that you’ll reach out to me and ask questions. Reach out to me especially if you want to share things about cats. Cat videos, cat pictures, cat memes, cat cafes. Anything. Sometimes a little distraction can be good for the soul too.
Cheers Crystal (AKA Dr. CKC, Dr. Craig)