Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life Lessons: Thick Skin

I'm not known for my thick skin. I'd like to say I have a sensitive artistic soul, but really I just have a problem with not being perfect and a mind like a steel trap when it comes to criticism. ("Your enthusiasm can sometimes be perceived as ditziness.")

I've always kind of known that being an academic would require the ability to take and then let go of criticism. I mean people are supposed to rip apart your articles and the like. Even if I've kind of been through a couple "weeder systems", they seemed half-hearted and generally people still wanted you to succeed. I read Ph.D. and laugh at the sarcasm. I've heard the horror stories. But like most high-academic achievers who succeed in grade school, high school, and even college and a stepping-stone grad school, I don't think I'm prepared for the reality.

And I don't know how one prepares for such a reality. Adopting a general feeling of hopelessness seems pointless. Laughing at it through comics seems to be an okay strategy if not totally fulfilling. I don't think most schools want to grind you into the ground as much as they don't want to coddle you. They want to produce good, self-sustaining academics that cast a good reputation on them. So I guess learning to suck it up would be helpful. Learning to let go of unnecessarily harsh criticism while retaining any worthwhile tips for improvement would help.

Eh... So that's what I've got. I'll try to employ a bit of it this fall, and hopefully I can use more next fall in an actual program.


Alli said...

Honestly, the best way I've found to deal with it is to build something in your life that reminds you of your self-worth, no matter what else has happened. For me, the major aspects of life that fill that role are my marriage and (silly as it is) crafting. I don't think that criticism will ever stop hurting me, no matter how many times I tell myself that I need to build thicker skin, so I just try to move on from it as quickly as I can.

brnh said...

That's good to know. Just move on.

Crafting itself is fun, but I've also noticed that the crafting community is amazingly supportive.

Thanks for sharing!