The process of professional growth is hard. I probably present my PhD manuscript to the pre-defence commission in two weeks. If it will be accepted and my two opponents should find it suitable, I will probably have the pre-defence in the end of the August or in the beginning of the September. The hard and difficult thing is here that after each day working with my manuscript and articles, I feel that I am not ready. The question is not about one more month or week or day or year. It seems that I will be never ready. I am reading my previous articles that have been already published and I wish I could re-write them all. I am reading my current papers that are in the process of submission and I am not happy with them. I re-correct my manuscript daily, although it is already with my critical friends who may give me some suggestions before sending the manuscript to the commission.
Few years ago I prepared my first high-level journal article and it was tough process. The article was written for more then a year and the submission + publishing process lasted even longer. My dear supervisor told me that if the process of publishing articles in the high-level journals would be easy, then why aren’t we and our colleagues doing it constantly? Now I know what did she mean. The process is difficult, time consuming and frustrating. First of all you have to write a really good article which is difficult. Then you have to wait till it goes under the review, comes from the review and decision has been made. Some journals are really constructive and quick. But for instance one of our article has been under review almost for a year. I would like to add those articles to my thesis and I don’t want to wait for so long. And even more exciting is the issue that after you have been waiting for the decision about the article for months, then it is “not accepted” with the review that is full of criticism.
The criticism is another thing that has been difficult to handle. On one hand if my supervisor or some of my colleagues is criticizing me (it is not appropriate verb actually, it should be something like “having constructive conversations with me), then sometimes I tend to take it personally. On the other hand it was difficult to get used to the reviews from the people I don’t know and who sometimes seem just mean. I am better now, reviews does not make me cry anymore. Last article of mine (the most important one in my thesis) was rejected with very good and useful review. I am still grateful for those reviewers, because thanks to them my thesis got a new perspective. But I am not so good at handling those discussions with my colleagues or supervisor and I sometimes may cry. Because I translate the sentence “this article is not clear yet” to the claim “oh, you are still so stupid”.
The supervising has been funny process as well. I think that I am the only one who may chat through Skype (because there are hundreds of km between us and we both have a little kids at home) whenever it feels like. For instance most of my study-peers has the supervisor some professor who does not have time to meet them more than 1-2 times a year, they are alone and do not feel the support. But probably they never argue or become moody with their supervisors. I am so familiar with my supervisor that probably have become sometimes even impolite with my attitude “i know what is best for me”. She has been so patient with me. And she knows that I always return to her because she knows better than me what is best for me. On the other hand, probably she is the only supervisor in the world who has time and wish to focus so much on someone’s thesis. She very thoroughly reads and comments and I have never heard about such supervisor. I strongly recommend her.
In general, yes, I feel that I am more unintelligent compared with the times when I started. Sure, now I know what is the SECI model and I remember when I was writing that blogpost and it makes me laugh now, but.. I have realized that there are so many things that I don’t yet. There are so many things that i don’t know how to do them. And as a paradox, I look at my previous articles and I would like to modify them, because I know so much more now.
I think it concludes my fairs that I have faced during the past years. I am close to the end, I am terrified because I am afraid of my defense. I have really enjoyed the process so far and I have been inspired by so many people, books, articles and I feel I have so much to do.