The other night as I was having dinner with friends, my wife spilled the beans that a new short story of mine had been accepted for publication. Everybody congratulated me and seemed to think I’m experiencing some whiz-bang success as an author. What they don’t see, however, is the months of rejection letters upon which this single acceptance sits. It is essential, I feel, for us to tell the stories of the minefield of frustration that surrounds those moments of victory. With that in mind, let me share my rejection rates for each of my published works.
The other day, I was explaining to my students the process profs use to grade research papers, and the more I explained, the more I kept thinking, “This is insane! This whole system is insane!”
My first wall hit me in second-year university. It seemed as though every course was a “weeder” course. Organic chemistry, biochemistry, calculus—all these classes were utter beasts.
What we have, here, is a value conflict. The powers-that-be have a budget to manage, and so they value fiscal sustainability. Instructors, conversely, have students to teach. They value quality education. Who should win?
Are we a wise civilization? Can we grow wiser? Being cynical about these questions is easy. The news shows us we are always on the brink of disaster, and, let's be honest, the comments section of most social media posts does not engender a spirit of optimism about humanity's collective wisdom. Yet, consider the following.