Sunday, May 17, 2009

A quick note on criticism

In my Archaeology of the New Testament World class we had a final paper due at the end of the semester. My paper, titled, "Even the coins will cry out: Numismatic Explanations for the Jewish War" received a good grade (an A), but it also received some constructive criticism....lots of it.

I wasn't sure how to handle it. It was almost as if the grade didn't matter because I felt like my paper must be bad if it had so many notes. After about 30 minutes of feeling really puzzled I realized that I absolutely must get used to this if I'm going to go on and do graduate work. The fact that the paper received high marks should make me realize I have a good argument that after being refined could be a great argument. In fact, I'm considering rewriting it over the summer with the notes and sources that the professor provided.


Nathan B. said...

I am actually somewhat the opposite! I recently picked up my final paper for my Jesus class, a paper that was my favorite one to work on by far during my entire undergraduate, and I asked my professor if he was "highly critical" in hopes that he provided plenty of suggestions for improvement. He replied no, that it was a very good paper, but I was thinking, "So?!" I want to be be better! Give me the criticism!

But, if it came down to having a choice over a good grade or plenty of criticisms, I might have to take the good grade every time.

John Anderson said...

Ph.D. programs require thick skin. Welcome!

Hypatia said...

The word to focus on is 'constructive'. That, plus a high grade, implies that you really sparked the guy's interest - always a good sign!
I'd take a heavily-inked paper over one with few or no comments, regardless of the grade. At least your work's been read thoroughly!!!
Why not blog your re-write?