Rubbish

But what if my examiner says something I’ve done is rubbish?

Imagine you’re in that position. What exactly did they say? It’s unlikely that they just used the word rubbish, but that’s what your brain has just made of their statement or question or opinion. You’ve interpreted that as “rubbish”.

Don’t panic. Take a breath. Ask them why.

Sit back. Listen. Put your feelings to one side and make notes.

When you know exactly what your examiner doesn’t like you can respond. When you have all of the details you will know what you need to discuss with them.

They might have misunderstood something: that doesn’t mean that what you did is rubbish, it just means that you didn’t communicate it as well as you hoped.

They might think something is missing: that doesn’t mean that what you did is rubbish, it just means that it’s not quite as complete as you hoped.

It’s unlikely your examiners will call something in your work rubbish. It’s certain that you have not produced a perfect thesis from perfect research – which means they might have questions or comments about the imperfections. This is natural.

If they say something is rubbish or that’s what you hear, you still get to engage with them – and you should. Ask why. Listen. Think. Respond.

And keep doing it.

Your examiners are not your biggest critics; it’s likely that you have taken on that role.

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