I suck

I had a paper deadline on July 5th (originally July 1st), and I was working with Slav (another 2nd-year grad student) and Dan Klein (a 2nd-year professor). We were a little late getting in all our results, and Dan was at a conference, so Slav and I wrote the bulk of the paper. Then, Dan was supposed to help us revise our rough draft. Of course, this was complicated by the fact that Slav was going to Canada on June 28, and I was leaving for St. Louis on July 1.

Much to my dismay, Dan was too busy to help us revise the paper immediately. On the evening of June 29, I got a list of minor recommended changes. On the evening of June 30, Dan recommended major outline changes, which meant moving around and rewriting large chunks of the paper. I stayed up all night to work on it, and then I declared my part done, since I was leaving for my own trip.

From there, it all went downhill. I heard very little from my partners, to the point that I thought I would have to submit the paper early in the morning on July 5th, since I would be busy all day. That doesn’t sound so horrible, but it seems worse when you realize that means I had been the only one making revisions since Dan’s large outline recommendations. The writing of the paper was essentially all my work at that point.

That’s why it was so terrible to hear that we weren’t submitting the paper after all. Dan felt that we didn’t have a good enough analysis of the paper, that the writing felt hasty, and that the math wasn’t clear enough. Really, that’s all essentially my fault. The success of our efforts was up to me, and I failed. Admittedly, I don’t have any experience writing conference papers, and I’m expected to be learning at this point in my academic career. Still, I need to do better than this. If I can’t write a paper that sounds better than “hastily written,” I’m not going to have much of a future.

Of course, putting all the blame on myself requires neglecting how my partners utterly failed me. As the due date approached, I was the only one working, even though Dan (as the professor) should have been the one putting on the finishing touches and making sure it was up to standard. Slav, too, should be better at this than I, since he at least has his Masters. As poorly as I may have performed, they did worse by leaving it all up to me. I am certainly not entirely responsible for what happened here.

In any case, it’s clear that my writing and researching abilities need a lot of work. I thought the paper sounded fine and was okay with submitting it, though Dan evidently thought it was crap. There’s quite a bit I need to learn.