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Monday, November 19, 2007

One project complete

My Big Grant was submitted on Friday (My Nov 15th date was an optimistic- done early- deadline. Ha!). After much stress, strife and problems with it (no, I never saw the "font advisory." thank you submission lady for emailing it to me with 4 hours till the deadline). I am not pleased. It sort if sucks. Not that I can really judge, but it was too rushed at the end to ever really feel good about it. It is unlikely that it would be in 4% that gets funded even if I did feel good about it though, right?

But, since I am a good, serious, adult-like person, I am trying to focus on what I've learned from the experience. This was difficult for me to write and there were major setbacks in my ability to communicate the broad theoretical framework of this research. I was paralyzed by the Bigness of the grant, the Bigness of the organization and Bigness of my own ideas. This took time to work though and resolve, which ended up leaving me with very little time for outside reviewers to give me comments. They did as much as they could and I appreciate all of them for looking it over. Associated with the time crunch is teaching. Whole days that were meant to be spent writing were spent with students prepping for their exam (a whole different story of course). In the end, I will know next time to plan a bit better, say no to other commitments, put limits on student meetings and double the time I think it will take to write it.
The second biggest setback I felt was the lack of guidance. It seems to be that no other students in my department have applied for this before. Like, ever. This left me with very few resources to rely on so it was like reinventing the wheel. My advisor (who I tried to bother as little as possible due to my being one of 4 students all doing Very Important Things right now) really had no advice for me. At all. He wouldn't even format his CV properly. Well, la-te-da. I mean, the granting agency specifically asked for certain information but thanks for lessening my chances because you don't feel it is important. Arrggggghhhh! We have a professional skills class here that all students are required to take. In that class, I learned none of the skills needed in order to write this grant. That would have been helpful. Again, I appreciate those folks who did try to help me out but next time, I don't know. I made it clear to my advisor that I felt like I needed more help and got none. Perhaps looking for more outside help would be better.

Overall, I learned a lot about what is really involved in major grant writing and think I will feel more comfortable with it next time. Until then, though, I've got assignments and exams to grade, and 7,000 more words to write for InaDWriMo!! Woo!

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Blogger hypoglycemiagirl said...

Oh, the "overwhelmed by the bigness" feeling sounds so familiar. Next time will be a little better.

1:09 PM  
Blogger DancingFish said...

Yes, I hope so! It is starting to feel like being in academia is not about things getting easier, just about you getting used to being stressed and dealing with being overwhelmed...

9:24 PM  

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