Update: It was accepted!!!
Update: I submitted to ASA this afternoon.
I finished my master’s thesis. My adviser has signed off on it, and it’s in the second reader’s hands. It’s the first real piece of original academic research I have produced, and I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment. The problem is…
I’m afraid it sucks.
It doesn’t “really” really suck. I think it’s perfectly acceptable as a master’s thesis that will hang out in a bounded volume in the archives of the School of Arts & Sciences. But my adviser wants me to condense it and submit it to ASA for the relevant section and student session. The thought of it makes me want to throw up.
The issue is that I don’t do well with criticism and I’m afraid of being a big sociology failure. Most things I do, I do well, and those things that I don’t do well, I don’t do. Despite my adviser telling me it’s good enough to submit, and current faculty telling me I’m doing a good job, I still have this nagging suspicion that I may not be any good at this. (Yes, I clicked the link and don’t feel any better.) I mean, if seasoned faculty can write shoddy work, what will the reviewers for the conference think about my feeble attempt at statistical analysis?
I tried to think of what I would say to one of my children if they came to me with this delimmna. What I often try to to say, besides reminding myself that I was accepted here for a reason and my adviser wouldn’t sell me down the river, is to contemplate what the worse possible scenario would be. 99% of the time, I realize that the worst possible fallout is actually not so bad. In this case, the worse possible consequence of submitting my paper is that it’s actually accepted (being rejected would be bad, but at least I would spare myself widespread ridicule). I go to the conference, and am completely torn apart by some a$$hole participant or presenter. Word gets around that my paper was the absolute worse of the conference (thinking kind of high of myself, no?) and my name, along with the impression of “idiot” is ingrained in the minds of anyone I might possibly want to get a job from or get an article published by, in the future, thereby ruining my career and bringing disgrace to my department.
This is my first year in this doctoral program, and although I have* a master’s degree, I’m just not used to being in such an intellectually intimidating environment. Everyone seems so quick, like they were born knowing all this stuff or at least are just so smart that it takes them no time to get everything. I’m learning, don’t get me wrong, but I just feel so inadequate that the thought of submitting this paper to a real professional conference is laughable to me.
I’m obviously freaking out here. Any advice is appreciated. Preferably before the 16th when submissions are due, please.
*to be conferred in May 2008