Why it’s always personal… Rejection, failure and the University as a bad boyfriend

Dave Webster

Dr Nicola Rivers and Dr Dave Webster

[With a hat-tip to the Thesis Whisperer]

Academia is fuelled by rejection. For every article accepted or funding bid won, numerous others will have been summarily rejected, with promising ideas never seeing the light of day. In fact the constant spectre of rejection is so widely acknowledged within the academic community that CVs of failures have gained increasing notoriety. Yet rather than providing an opportunity to collectively share the heartache of the hours seemingly lost spent toiling over increasingly lengthy grant applications, or the cutting comments of ‘reviewer two’ – a trope which has become so well recognized it is now the source of mirth –  CVs of failures have served to distance failure, and render it safe. Not least because frequently these are after all the CVs of those who have ultimately been very successful.

What these examples do then is…

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