Two Thursdays ago I received my PhD examination results. There are a range of levels from you are perfect, graduate now down to you are terrible beyond redemption. Do not pass Go, do not collect PhD.
I got the best level that a non-superhuman can get – pass subject to edits. This should be a happy thing. But after reading the feedback of my two examiners I ended up a teary mess, feeling like a total failure and seriously questioning my desire to become a scientist. Things like “I found the end result rather disapppointing” does do that to a person.
It seems like everytime I build up my self-confidence, someone comes along and rips it to shreds. I know that I’m not meant to take it personally but it’s so damn hard not to. I spent months putting all I had on my thesis and it turns out that wasn’t good enough. Why would anyone willingly put themselves through this? My respect for novelists has deepened considerably.
Some of the comments are so mean while others are too vague for me to understand. Not helpful at all.
One of the examiner’s general comments gives me the impression that my writing skills suck (which is true, I’ll admit that) but then only provided specific feedback on my writing for the first chapter and ignores the other chapters. That is so damn frustrating. Even if I had the ability to see where I needed to put in topic sentences or do whatever, I still wouldn’t be able to because I’m only permitted to make changes based directly on the examiner feedback, not just guess what the examiner wanted.
Despite my ranting to anyone who’ll listen to me, I’m doing ok. I’ve managed to make all the changes for one chapter in a week. There are two more chapters that I think will only take about a week each. But then there are two chapters that apparantly need to be completely rewritten (one of which I’m meant to be turning into a paper to publish. Bye bye confidence). And I have to do more analyses (although the guy doesn’t like my analytical method, he doesn’t quite tell what he wants me to do) which might take a few months to run.
Take a wild guess what I’ll be doing over Christmas?