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Success is the sweetest response to criticism!

Yesterday, I received word that the paper my colleague and I submitted in April this year has been published! If you are so inclined, you can read the paper here. I was super excited to see the company I was keeping as well. Some big names in my field within Australia!

My ex-supervisor was also published in the issue in a joint paper. I really hope she took note that I had submitted and been peered reviewed and accepted into the issue - she probably didn't. I really hope she had to admit to herself that I actually am a good researcher and a good writer - she probably didn't. I suspect she's run me down in the wake of my withdrawing from the degree. I suspect I have become one of the students she uses as a cautionary tale. One she says just didn't have what it takes. She often ran down other current and past candidates to me, so my suspicions are not paranoia. Being published in a prestigious paper among prestigious researchers negates any slurs she might have put out there.

It is difficult to withdraw from a PhD. It is difficult to write off all that time and all that research, especially when the cause is the supervisor and a department unwilling to take the situation seriously. The only recourse for an ex-PhD candidate is to continue to research independently, to submit and hope to be successfully peer reviewed. To break through the stigma of having 'given up'. There is always that concern that people will choose to believe you just didn't have what it takes - that the real reasons might be buried under gossip.

One day I might be able to push through the projected difficulty of ever getting back into a PhD - which was one of the reasons given me for not withdrawing. In the meantime, I just have to keep researching and keep submitting.

With this publication I can officially say I've had the best year in the past decade!

I've had a novel published.

I've gotten a great job doing something where I actually get to positively impact people's, particularly students, lives in real time.

I've been published in an academic journal.

At the beginning of 2017 these all seemed like pipe dreams, and I despaired of seeing any of these things come to fruition. Now, here I am, just nine months out from having withdrawn from the PhD and all the things I was told would be made so much more challenging without a PhD have just fallen into my lap.



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