Wednesday, December 20, 2006
No More SSHRC
Applying for the SSHRC every year was the most exhausting, humiliating and stressful part of my doctoral program. Nothing has made me feel as inadequate and stupid as the SSHRC process. The application process is beyond stupid. I will never actually know if I actually deserved a SSHRC because the fuck-wads in Grad studies never actually sent my SSHRC on. Essentially, my application was being evaluated by a whole bunch of people with no interest in my field who were trying to bureaucratically figure out which applications were most strategic in order to maximize the university's SSHRC funding.
Every year I improved my application and every year they didn't give a shit. I honestly think they just made up random suggestions for improvement, because not once have they made a difference. I'm also at a loss to how students with NO conference papers are awarded CGS SSHRCs, but my multiple professional VETTED conference papers don't even get me past stage 1 of the application process. Despite having a University Fellowship, I'm not good enough to get past phase 1.
So I'm glad to be done, but I'm bitter. I think the vetting process is flawed and biased towards social sciences. I'll admit that I'm miffed that the CGS recipients in my department are uniformly older, with wider experience outside of the uni and more pressing financial situations (children, for example). I know it sounds petty, but the SSHRC process really fucks with my head. Every year I felt worthless after getting that god-damned form letter from the Grad faculty.
So it's done. I will never have a doctoral SSHRC. I will never know if I actually deserved a doctoral SSHRC. On the plus side, I will never have to go through that ridiculous, humiliating and degrading experience again.
So fuck you screening committee. I hope karma bites you in the ass.
And how about how they sent it out in tersely-worded letter format this year? Last year I heard from a sympathetic e-mail from my grad chair. The letter ended with something along the lines of "I hope that this does not discourage you from continuing your studies, and that you find alternative funding." Well, I hadn't thought of it in that way, but now I'm freaking out about next year, when I hit "Third Year" hell at the univeresity, where the monthly Fellowship money dries up, which has always been so nice for paying rent. Unlike TA money, which arrives way less evenly.
The first time I applied -- at my old university, when I was applying to come here -- I went on to the national competition. Didn't win, but I don't know that the application deserved to win. This year, I went through a million drafts and that grantscrafting woman actually ended off her reading of my Program of Study with "Well done! Well done!" She also said that my application "deserved" funding. But then backed up and realised that there's no way of telling, because of the committee process.
Sorry for that big rant in your comments. My whole week's been messed up since I got that letter. SSHRC hurts my confidence worse than anything else.