The first time I’ve heard of the CV of failures is when a Princeton professor posted one. I’ve been meaning to write mine ever since.
A CV serves as a narrative of one’s career. To list only the accomplishments is telling half of the story or more accurately it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Failure is common, in fact, rejections seem to be the norm. I’m still in the middle of my academic training and I intend to update this CV every now and then. For me, this could also serve as a measure of how many times I put myself out there. And to realize sometimes this is what matters.
Ph.D. application and degree fellowships
One way to get funded for a Ph.D. is through a fellowship. I tried applying twice for the East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship and Fulbright Scholarship with no luck. Rejections at that time were extremely discouraging but it turns out to be for the better. Getting these fellowships would mean returning back to the Philippines immediately after Ph.D. and this would not be in line with my goals of pursuing a postdoc before heading home for good.
I owe it to my MSc advisor the gained wisdom of scientific publication. It can be brutal at times, but I found fulfillment and excitement in getting feedback and writing a response to reviews. It’s a mechanism to self-correct our sometimes flawed thinking. This also reminds me that it takes time before the work can be read by the scientific community and the public but preprint can circumvent that problem. This also means that as a student I need to consider this timeline if I want to get published and land a job after.
I had two desk rejections, this is when the Editors decided not to send the paper for review for several reasons. Here, it is because of the perceived impact for elite journals. In the case of eLife, they thought the paper was still preliminary. I have a lot of insights on this topic, maybe a subject of another blog post. But briefly, having limited funds and support infrastructure sometimes means having a ceiling on what you can do, so papers may seem preliminary.
Grants, Summer Courses and Travel Grants
Finally, my list of failed grants, summer courses, and travel awards. Coming from a developing country, I always see to it to look for funding support on my own. This lead to a continous stream of application to summer courses, conferences, research cruises, etc.
That’s it for now. I hope this helps!