Do you know what sucks the most about academia? Failing. High personal standards, peer review, constant scrutiny, science wears you down and leaves you a gibbering wreck sometimes. My personal experience with manuscript publication has been peppered with disappointment, but mostly successful overall. Mostly a case of being annoyed for a day, cursing negative reviews and then picking up the pieces and resubmitting to another journal. But fellowships. Oh fellowships. I feel like I put a piece of myself into a fellowship application, and failing to achieve a positive outcome there feels personal.
I wasn’t good enough. Why wasn’t I good enough? Who are these people who are better than me?
Close but no cigar. Sorry love, try again next year. Oh you can only apply once? Chin up love, you’ll get something, your CV is too good not to.
I struggle a lot with confidence in myself. I might be able to stand in front of people and talk about my work just fine, shake hands with important people, smile and be bubbly and happy and enthusiastic. But deep down I struggle to back myself and I’m really scared about what the future holds. My friends and mentors don’t see my current desperate scrabble for funding as a personal deficit, just a shit hand whereby people more senior and qualified than me are down playing their abilities and applying for the junior fellowships and lectureships. I put so much hope into my applications, talk myself up and then when the inevitable blow comes it’s a greater fall for me.
I guess its all about picking the bits up off the floor, working out other avenues and fixing yourself up mentally for the next time. Because otherwise you just have to give up and walk out, and I’m not a quitter, yet.