negative feedback

Don't let negative feedback bring you down!

Imagine meeting with faculty who offer feedback, but the feedback does not go as well as you hoped. How do you respond? Receiving that kind of feedback can be tough. It's easy to take it personally and feel discouraged. However, embracing and processing this feedback is important for academic and professional growth. 

In this blog, we'll explore some tips for productively handling negative feedback; from reframing your mindset to seeking advice, we'll cover actionable strategies to make the most out of any critique from faculty in your program.

Process, reflect – then act

It can be challenging to receive negative feedback from anyone, let alone a faculty member. With that said, take time to process everything to avoid reacting defensively. It is always okay to process the feedback before making changes. Processing is allowing your emotions to be what they are, reflecting on the intent behind a conversation, and acting accordingly.

Understand where the critique is coming from

When we receive negative feedback, it can be met with resistance, but it’s important to understand that it is part of the growing process. It’s also essential to remember that negative feedback often does not come from a place of malice but rather from care for the individual, both professionally and academically. Faculty want you to be successful!

Ask clarifying questions

Suppose there is trouble understanding where the critique is coming from, and you need further clarification. In that case, you can always ask additional questions to further grasp how to improve academically and professionally. 

Step back

As previously stated, negative feedback can be a lot to accept. Be gentle with yourself during this process; if you are not in the right headspace, make a point to do something you enjoy and take a mental and emotional break.

Progress, not perfection

One of the most important things to remember during this process is that it is all about progress, not perfection. There is no such thing as the “perfect” student or postdoc; only progress can be made to be our best selves. Although negative feedback can be difficult, there is always room for improvement.

Negative feedback is something that everyone encounters at some point in their academic and professional career. Take feedback in stride and remember the importance of progress, not perfection.



Edited by Marjani DeHoff