I submitted my first first-author publication in June. It was a great start to the summer and it felt great to finally get something under review. My advisor and coauthors were excited about the manuscript and I was super proud of it. It seemed perfect, a year prior the editor of the journal we submitted to had come up to my poster at a major conference in my field and asked me to write up the poster and send it to him.
So I did.
And then on the first week of my amazing honeymoon in Costa Rica (more on the stress of planning a wedding and being in grad school later), I got the rejection letter.
Fortunately being in the beautiful foothills of an active volcano with a private hot spring and a swim up bar made it sting a little less. It wasn’t until this week when I finally had to step back into the academic school year and weekly meetings with people who expect me to get stuff done did I actually have time to pause and reflect about how much rejection sucks. But how good it is for someone like me.
At the request of some of my friends I finally took the Strengthsquest assessment (if you have a vt.edu email address you can take it for free here). I consider myself a neuroscientist and although I occasionally dabble in questionnaires, I do NOT use personality tests in my research. Like at all. If it weren’t for teaching Intro Psych I wouldn’t be able to name the Big 5 personality traits.
I enjoyed taking the assessment, mostly because I like talking about myself and my strengths (even if it’s just to a computer algorithm). And my results were pretty consistent with how I see myself and how I like to portray myself (for a review of issues with online personality tests click here).
My top 5 strengths were:
As anyone who knows me would expect, both input and learner are characterized by continuously wanting to improve and be the best.
I like being right. I like being good at things. And, for the most part, I’m able to regularly do the things I excel at and ignore and avoid the things I’m bad at. And it’s rare that I put myself in situations where I even have a chance at being rejected and told I’m not good enough.
So this academic, completely non-personal rejection was new for me. And I know it’s something I’m going to have to get used to as an academic. There are a myriad of issues with the way that academic publishing works and I sincerely hope that I can be part of the movement to change things. But, regardless of how things will change, peer review and discrimination in what information gets published is important.
And sometimes it’s good for you.
Revise and resubmit elsewhere, baby.