I have felt myself feeling this in the past during peer reviews, and I have felt it at times this semester. In all the classes I have taken for the Minor, there has been some element of peer review. I think this is great, as I enjoy reading my peers work and getting their feedback on mine. But sometimes, sometimes I find myself uneasy in the classes where we give each other feedback.
What it stems from is the fact that in almost all of the peer reviews I have done, there is usually at least one, if not more, students who’s work kind of blows me away. I read his or her essay, and one of the first thoughts I have after is, wow, this makes mine look like shit. This thought is coming purely from a place of jealousy, wishing I would have thought of that or I could write a scene like that. But, it still sometimes leaves me thinking my work might not hold up. Like this better writer who finds all the flaws in my essay might shred me in peer review. But then the peer review actually starts.
I usually (never) volunteer to go first in those awkward moments where no one really wants to volunteer to go first. The confident writer usually ends up going first, but this where things get better. I give them some praise with my comments, but then I make some suggestions and ask too many questions because they got me genuinely interested in what they wrote about. Damn them. But once I see they are receptive to my suggestions, like I make one and they immediately scribble it down, or we get talking about one the questions I asked, I start to feel a little better.
But then I am up, and I approach that moment, with a, alright, let’s see what happens here, attitude. I could see this going so many ways. However, any anxieties I might be feeling are quickly washed away when my group tells me things they liked about my piece. Especially the one I think is a dope writer. Because then I’m thinking in my head, wow, and they know how to write. And they like this shit. Well, it must be pretty fucking good then.
I will acknowledge, having anxiety over this is pretty ridiculous. Because any time I have gone into a peer review anxious, the same thing has happened and any anxiety quickly dissipated and was replaced with blind confidence. In my time in the Minor, I have only had good experiences doing peer reviews. My peers offered the mild praise I guess I sometimes needed, and their critiques and questions always helped me create a better product in the end.
So this a blog about a weird thing to be anxious about, and a testament to the members of the minor for helping each other become better writers.