Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Food for Thought

My advisor has told me before: "If you spend all your time in graduate school comparing yourself to everyone else, you'll never get a job." This came as a result of my anxiety about several peers who've already been published (as 4th yr. PhD students). I've had my work solicited for publication before - a conference paper I presented was solicited by an editor of a good journal in my field - but I would've had to develop it further before it would be ready. I was willing to do this though. But, my advisor told me not to focus on that..not to get distracted away from my dissertation by things that ultimately wouldn't really do much to help my job efforts. The problem is, I still feel the competition. Nobody is doing anything to make me feel this way; it's just there. The fact that I'm aware of what my peers are working on - even if they're not in my area of study - makes me constantly self-conscious of the "best" factor. I want to be the best at what I do in this place at this time. Is that possible? Is it a juvenile fantasy that doesn't (never?) existed in the first place? Am I immature for thinking in such terms?

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Ha! After reading your last post, before making it to this one, I immediately started comparing myself to you. You are making progress on your dissertation much faster than I am (as is pretty much everyone). I don't know if we can escape it. Such is the condition which prevails.

wwwmama said...

Yeah, the comparison game is sort of inevitable, I think. You have to fight it, but you can't beat yourself up over it when it happens. I'm a bit surprised you were told not to follow up on a solicited publication. I'm pretty sure I would have been strongly encouraged to do it.

AcadeMama said...

"I'm a bit surprised you were told not to follow up on a solicited publication."

wwwmama: She gave me this advice b/c she feels like it's more important to do work that will lead to a publishable monograph when I'm done than to spend time working on tangentially-related article pieces. It probably would've taken a solid couple of months to revise the paper for submission to the journal. Now, there are still plenty of others who might disagree w/my advisor, but since she's the most published faculty member in our department, I'm inclined to just trust her.

M said...

My advisor gave me similar advice about a paper that several other profs have encouraged me to revise and submit for publication--it is in my time period, but not specifically my field. She has encouraged me to start on the diss chapter that she feels will be the easiest to get published.