I’m a little late on this, but with the end of 2016, it’s always fun to look back on the year that was for some introspection.
2016 – the year in review
2016 was a bit of a challenging year. I went into it hoping to finish my PhD, but at the time, was still working to push out my first publication. I’d say one of the biggest challenges I faced all year was trying to find motivation in the lab to keep pushing when things felt bleak. I managed to do it, and at the end of the day it worked out – I pushed through to get a publication out , and by the end of the year, defended my PhD Thesis.
Finding that motivation to push through came by taking a bit of a step back from my project. Over the past year, I fell in love with podcasts. All sorts of different ones from audio drama, news, and science… all of them! But listening to science podcasts was a reminder of why I pursued this path in the first place. It was an eye opening moment… like how I fell back in love with science. Once that happened, the motivation came back. It even led me to take up some side endeavours like trying to start a podcast , writing for a department newsletter, and starting this blog.
2016 was a good year for learning some life lessons. These are some of my favorites.
Try to do something that scares you every day – This is actually old advice from my PhD supervisor, but it’s a wonderful thought to always keep in mind.
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something – I had to keep this in mind as I prepared for my defence. As much as you want to be able to answer every question correctly and throughly, the nature of science is that there are things that aren’t known. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Have faith in your abilities – Having confidence that you can succeed is a huge part of the battle in grad school. Trust that you know a lot and that the skills you’ve developed can carry you forward.
The year to come
I’m coming into 2017 with a feeling of optimism and excitement over what the coming year will bring. I want to make a loose contract with myself though for the year to come.
- Post blogs more often, either here or elsewhere at least twice a month.
- Start a career.
- Maintain the relationships I’ve made in grad school when I eventually leave.
Every new year, I like to think of this Calvin and Hobbes comic. Speaking for myself, it’s a great way to think of the year to come.
Podcasts I’ve been listening to:
GE LifeAfter: All episodes of the followup to last year’s The Message are now out.
Freakonomics Radio – Bad Medicine: Freaknomics had a 3-part series on the not-quite-so-scientific aspects of medicine. Start with Part 1 – the story of 98.6.