How do you deal with comments on your work?

posted
19-May-20, 20:29
edited about 5 seconds later
by JSB
Avatar for JSB
posted about 2 weeks ago
I have been working on an application for a placement scheme as part of my PhD in which I will be spending time in Canada for 12 weeks.

This involves a research proposal, split into three sections (statement of interest, the proposal and the benefits to me and Canada).

I sent off my proposal to my supervisor to read through prior to sending to my Canadian contact yesterday. I got the feedback this afternoon and there were some amendments which have got me kicking myself.

Section two (the proposal) was mostly untouched, barring an omitted figure and section three was mostly the same. However, section one was heavily edited by my supervisor. The gist is generally the same, it's mostly been reworded to be more succinct and maybe more professional. I realise this is done for my own benefit, and my supervisor has years of experience in writing these things over me, but I still feel a bit annoyed that I didn't think of this during my proof reads.

I do get annoyed at myself for failing to spot these things or when I do make mistakes which get picked up on by supervisors.

Does anyone have any tips in how they deal with this? How they don't let themselves get too affected from their goals and distracted from how well they're doing?
posted
19-May-20, 21:26
by PhDhere
Avatar for PhDhere
posted about 2 weeks ago
I deal with this by wholeheartedly adopting the mentality that I am not perfect and that there will always be something new to learn form someone no matter my status is. We are more ignorant than we would like to believe. If someone pointed out my shortcomings to me in a constructive way, I will even be grateful.
posted
19-May-20, 21:32
edited about 21 seconds later
by JSB
Avatar for JSB
posted about 2 weeks ago
Thank-you. I try that, and it does help in the long run, it does keep my spirit up in the long term, but I am forever plagued by doubts. I get thoughts of "even someone of your level should not be making those errors right now" or "even a 2nd year PhD student should have been able to see that it would have been better if worded like this."

I realise that I am bound to make mistakes and errors, but I keep worrying that the errors are ones I shouldn't be making at my level.
posted
20-May-20, 20:07
edited about 5 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 weeks ago
I always actively seek out constructive and honest feedback.
You need to ditch that "even soneone of your level....." thought process. A PhD is hard enough without knee-capping yourself over stuff that doesn't matter.
posted
21-May-20, 18:37
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for PhoenixFortune
posted about 2 weeks ago
Everyone NEEDS constructive feedback, even if it's not necessarily something you WANT to hear. I always try to only look feedback when I'm not tired and in a reasonably pleasant mood, that way I am more able to appreciate what is being said and why. I also think that you need the mindset of: would I have noticed the need for these changes if my supervisor hadn't pointed them out? Maybe not, as we are all guilty of being 'too close' to our project/writing, and an unfamiliar reader can help with that.

Comparison is the thief of happiness, so you won't make yourself more productive/generally better by doing that. Also, everyone's PhD structure/trajectory/process is different, even those in the same discipline, so there is literally no point in comparing yourself to where others are and how they are doing.
posted
21-May-20, 19:50
edited about 8 seconds later
by JSB
Avatar for JSB
posted about 1 week ago
Oh, yes, I do value the feedback. I wouldn't want it to be different. No feedback wouldn't be teaching me anything, so I don't want to hide from critique. I just want to be able to mentally deal with it better at times.

I realise it's a learning process and I won't be perfect, I tend to have needless anxieties which do not help me put things into perspective at times.
posted
23-May-20, 16:27
edited about 19 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From JSB:
Oh, yes, I do value the feedback. I wouldn't want it to be different. No feedback wouldn't be teaching me anything, so I don't want to hide from critique. I just want to be able to mentally deal with it better at times.

I realise it's a learning process and I won't be perfect, I tend to have needless anxieties which do not help me put things into perspective at times.


Your problem then isn't receiving feedback. It's that you have set an inappropriate level of expectation on the things you are receiving feedback on. You'll only allow yourself to accept making mistakes which are to be expected at your level. The problem with that is that it's absolutely arbitrary, has no foundation in anything scientific and is very damaging to your confidence. You'd be in a better place if you accept making errors (which you do) and that those errors can be as daft as spelling errors or addition errors (which you appear not to be doing). If you can accept making "daft" errors you'll be a lot happier. Maybe you worry too much about what your peers or supervisor thinks if they see those errors. Funnily enough, if you spoke to them and they were honest they'd show you countless episodes where they've made those same types of errors. Those who tell you they haven't are lying.

I would recommend finding ways of calming down over this. None of us are or were curing cancer during our PhDs. None of it is so important that mistakes of any kind are not allowed.

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