Day: November 16, 2015

Academic Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Bad blogger, went back on own promise to blog daily. No excuses… Just shame. (No, not really. OK, maybe a little.)

A few examples of academic once bitten, twice shy:

  1. When I was a wee assistant professor, I had a single-author paper at the pearly gates of a high-profile journal. I made a stupid mistake of dismissing (i.e., not carefully responding to) some of the referee’s comments, because I thought I got it made. Turns out I didn’t.
    Since then I am the kind of author who carefully and painstakingly responds to each and every reviewer comment, even the stupid ones. Never again did I ignore a criticism and never again did I get a rejection after a reasonable request for revisions.
  2. I will be very, very, VERY careful when hosting visiting researchers. The first and only I have had so far ended up being a complete flake and went MIA upon arrival. He had money from his institution and apparently decided to vacation here. Being that he was a foreign national and I invited him, I could have gotten in a lot of trouble. I can’t see myself hosting anyone from abroad in the near future.
  3. I will be very, very, VERY reluctant to ever again take on students just because they come with a fellowship. (To paraphrase: Don’t take for free what you wouldn’t be willing to pay for.) I am just dealing with the results of a recent mistake; the student came with a fellowship to do an MS. The student is considerably weaker than my other students and the fellowship requirements were such that I ended up having very little time, less than what I had originally been told, to try to teach them something. The weak student on an unreasonably short clock was supposed to produce a thesis, so I ended up crafting and supervising what I would call a very minimal project, something the student could actually do. The whole ordeal was a very, very poor use of my time. Now I am stuck correcting the thesis, which contains an infinitesimal amount of novelty but innumerable writing infractions…
    Which brings about… Writing rant number 3,875,621!
    OMFG, why is the writing of some graduate students who are native speakers of English so unbelievably atrocious? I am pulling my hair out now with run-on sentences, no commas to save a life, the same verb or noun three times in the same sentence. What is it that they spend time on in their English 101 or whatever it is that they are required to take in college? Or is it that our humanities colleagues try their best, but it all falls on deaf ears? Doesn’t anyone read anything, FFS? Doesn’t anyone reflect upon why some writing doesn’t suck and why their own writing does?

What say you, blogosphere? What are some things in your profession that you will never ever do again?