I’m not going to lie, from the very first day I heard we were going to be participating in peer-review I was pretty skeptical. Maybe part of it was that I had never really done peer-review, but I think the main part of my skepticism came from me lacking the confidence needed for it.
Confidence is a really big portion of any part of learning; actually it’s a big part of practically anything you do. I have never considered myself a very strong writer, I would always hand in my best work, or at least most of the time, but my papers never compared to some of my fellow classmate’s. If I can’t even produce a well-written paper, what gives me the authority to critique someone else’s paper?
As the due date for our half-draft (the day that was scheduled for peer-reviewing) appeared I realized there was no way I was going to get out of it; it was a portion of our research paper grade, a rather large portion actually. I also began to realize that in order for me to even attempt at being a successful reviewer, I was going to have to go into this process a little more open-minded.
As I wrote my draft I kept reminding myself, it is okay to have shitty first drafts, that is why they’re your draft, not your final copy. As I made my way through each paragraph I kept reaching little hic-ups, things I wanted to rephrase or redo but just didn’t know how. This is when the whole concept of peer-reviewing began to click. As much as I didn’t want to review other people’s work, I sure did want their feedback on mine.
As the assessment papers were being handed out at the beginning of class it occurred to me that no one was going to be able to half-ass this activity, not if they wanted a good grade at least. In order to make the grade I wanted, to receive full credit, I was going to have to really engage with the two papers I reviewed.
As I read through other’s papers, I found myself being able to pick up on little things, things I really didn’t think I would be able to. Now was it because a grade was on the line, or because I actually aloud myself to open up and engage? To tell you the truth, I can’t answer that question but I can say I was proud of myself.
Both papers were written well and contained a lot of information about their monster or villain. Each person seemed to be heading down a good path with a lot of interesting ideas that they could explore. Although their papers had some great qualities, I could tell this wasn’t there best work; this is when I realized I wasn’t alone and other people were having some difficulties on figuring out how to connect the dots too.
At the end of class, I read through my two reviewer’s comments and found that their comments were similar to what I had left on their paper’s. I guess I could say that I wasn’t too bad at the whole peer-review thing and that I actually might have enjoyed it. One thing is for sure though, I certainly found it to be very helpful.
Sure, peer-review was a success and “I was wrong” but I can’t say that would’ve been the case if I walked into that classroom with the same mindset I had when the discussion of peer-review first came about. I strongly believe that it was my openness and engagement with the activity that helped me excel at it and find it useful. I think if we could try to approach other things in life like this, that people would begin to see a much higher success and enjoyment rate in what they do.