Sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything right. And sometimes people like to tell you that.
In the day-to-day life it is called criticism.
In the academic world it is called feedback.
Feedback does not necessarily mean your work is bad but it does feel like it. On one hand, it might be helpful to take it seriously and have a critical look at your work. But on the other hand, nobody wants to hear what he or she is doing wrong. Of course, feedback can be positive but from personal experience I can tell this is not often the case. Or I’m just a bad person who does things wrong all the time.
When I had to write my research proposal I received a lot of feedback which helped me to rewrite my work. Unfortunately, most of the remarks were negative. It does not boost your self-confidence and sometimes I find it hard to see the positive sides of feedback but you have to keep in mind; the intention is good.
As a side job, I worked as an animator on several a camp site. Before we were sent off to the middle of nowhere, we had to attend to a training weekend where we were trained to become an ‘animator’. Wauwie (it was one of the frequent heard words during the weekend). A part of the job was role playing. There were 3 stereotypes of characters we could choice to play; the “cool and hip” Otto, the know-it-all Elle and the clumsy Izzi (unisex).
Unfortunately, I, clumsy as I am, ended up playing the blond, know-it-all girl, dressed in a bright green dress, covered with ladybirds. First of all, very important for role playing; you have to project yourself into the role. Wearing a platinum blond wig, I had to improvise a scene in where I had to find the teddy bear of my unisex friend, Izzi. Thank god my partner was transgender.
The object? A colander.
“So, what did we think of it?” asked our team leader the group when we were finished. He looked like a real farmer, including the blooming cheeks and pudding-basin haircut. I think he would have been a great Otto. “I don’t want to hear any negative thoughts, just the TIPS and TOPS!”
The group was (not surprisingly) silent.
I worked 2 years on several camp sites and never had to do a play with a colander again.
It was one of the “TIPS” I received as feedback.