This “to do” list makes me want cake
One of the strangest things about academia is the many things we’re asked to do well with zero training. Teach, for one. I mean, we get some “see one-do one” style training, and some graduate programs offer more support in this realm than others, but we are essentially learning on the job. Trial and error, where the medium for practice is our students’ lives. I just attended a workshop–because I am the kind of person who seeks out and takes advantage of opportunities to learn, and I am highly unusual in this regard–on good mentoring. I got a handout and listened to a bunch of people complain. I left in a bit of a huff, feeling the way students must often feel after seeking mentoring. That was a waste of time. Now I am back in the office and faced with two tasks that I have never been trained to do, and yet are a big part of my job.
- Review a paper.
- Write a letter of recommendation.
So to prevent me from spending the rest of the day looking at shoes on the internet, I am going to tackle item number 1. I am going to put on some music, make some tea, and ask for help. Fellow academics*: How do you efficiently review a paper? Any tips for making it not take more than a couple of hours, but also be FAIR? It’s easy to blow the task off and write a couple of shitty paragraphs, and the more I do these, the more tempted I am to basically give what I get: Find a nit-picky thing on page 10, criticize some theoretical point vaguely without offering any suggestions, but claim that it’s a fatal flaw, refer them to my brilliant work on the subject.
*Non-academics, if your job has any component of evaluation, there’s probably an analogue to the paper review. How do you evaluate the work of others?