Aronté Bennett, PhD | Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, School of Business
Pursuing a career in academia is not for the faint of heart. More often than not, the research that faculty pour our passion and energy into is met with, at best, sweeping suggestions for how it can be improved, but at worst, outright rejection. If reviewers used red ink to leave their comments, our submissions would look like crime scenes. Although I have always been coached not to take these rejections personally, that’s incredibly hard to do after spending months, sometimes years, taking an idea from conception to drafted journal submission. Early in my career, I would be left feeling dejected and aimless after receiving a rejection from a journal.
Along the way, a mentor suggested that after I read decision letters I should put them down and do my best to put them out of my mind for a few days. This delay allows me time to divorce my emotional response from my logical one. When I return to the letters, I am more clearly able to digest the insight offered by the critique. In the long run, this invariably leads to an improved manuscript.
Accepting rejection has not gotten any easier over time but now I know that with a little time and space, I can harness the perspective that comes with it to help propel my projects, and more broadly my career.