Soph talks science turns 2!

Happy birthday to me.

Happy birthday to me.

Happy birthday to Soph talks science.

Happy birthday to me.

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Another trip around the Sun completed. A huge 940,000,000 km travelled in 365.25 days at a ridiculous speed of 30 km/second. That’s as many seconds that are in 29.8 years! And in the time it’s taken you to read this post so far, we have probably travelled another 1500 km or 932 miles! That’s the distance from London to Lake Bled in Slovenia, or a tiny bit further than New York City to Nashville, Tennessee in about 30 seconds! Travel at that speed would definitely help my wanderlust!

But all of this to orbit the Sun back to the same place we were a year ago, just another year older, another year wiser, another year of experience.

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These past two years have been such an incredible journey full of adventure, inspiration, and growth. When I think back to the beginning of my dream, this beautiful little corner of the internet is nearing towards exactly what I wanted to create. A place full of inspiration, encouragement, empowerment, and a real-life example of dreams, goals and plans coming true. This blog is a big part of my dream to be creative and put open, honest and hopefully useful things out into the world. To be able to take my ideas, stories, and all the things that thrill my soul and combine them into this beautiful little blog of mine is such an unbelievable dream come true!

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I always try to bring you all things that YOU want to see on Soph talks science so a week or so ago I asked a question on my Instagram to find out what you guys wanted to see in a post to celebrate Soph talks science’s 2nd birthday. You all gave me such amazing inspiration for posts, so much so that I couldn’t really decide between the two most popular themes – 1) my last year of blogging and 2) some science behind growth, development and aging!

A tough choice if you ask me!

So, I gave you one post for Soph talks science’s first birthday, why not share two for the second birthday eh? More is always best when it comes to celebrating right?

So, today is my blogiversary so I feel I want to keep this post as a ‘thank you’, as a self-reflection post and a celebratory post. So, if you want to get your science fix you’ll have to stick around until the next post! But in case you can’t wait and case you’re feeling sentimental and want to reminisce about Soph talks science’s first blogiversary, you can read that post here or for some other birthday themed science check out this post I wrote for my birthday!

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So, what has two years worth of blogging taught me?

β™₯ It has taught me about a hella lot of new science – researching for posts exercises my curiosity for science & I’ve learnt so much about different aspects of science and PhD life that I never would have known before.

β™₯ Finding a niche takes times – And I still don’t think I have found mine, hence the array of different features on my blog. I’ve been trying out various different things and now my PhD journey is coming to an end, I know those posts are going to be slowing up because, well, there will be very little new content to talk about. So, I’m still defining and redefining my niche.

β™₯ I’ve become a much better writer and scientist – practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better! Practicing writing and researching for different posts has made me a much better writer I feel, not just for my blog but for my PhD too. But it’s also made me a better scientist too as it has made me question claims even more and want to do more research to make sure I’m sharing the right information with you.

β™₯ Blogging takes so much more time that you think – But I’ve learnt so much about prioritisation and time management. And being a blogger makes you so much more than just a writer – you’re an editor, a photographer, a model, a designer, a marketeer, a social media manager, a PA, an analyst and if you monetise your blog an accountant and CEO.

β™₯ My confidence has really grown – so for those of you that know me, you will know that I am incredibly shy, quiet and introverted – something that I try to bottle when sharing things on social media because I don’t think anyone would respond and engage with that. But winning two blogging awards this year and getting involved with more scicomm events has made me more confident at least on the blogging and scientist side of things. I still need to work on that personally.

β™₯ You guys are SO supportive – I never doubted this in the first place but two years of sharing the ups and downs of PhD life has made me realise how important having a supportive community around you is, not just for a PhD, but in life. You all inspire me to carry on and keep bringing fresh new content and perspectives.

β™₯ Social media is NOT all about the numbers – Before I started blogging, I had Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just to share the hundreds of photos that I adore taking. I didn’t care about followers, views, or likes. I didn’t know what an algorithm was, and it didn’t effect my day. Now, I LIVE on social media. If I’m not on my Instagram page, I’m posting to my Facebook or Twitter. Pinterest is life, and the word algorithm makes me cringe or get irrationally irrate. I seriously have this love hate relationship with social media. I love connecting with YOU, but I hate trying to one up the latest social media algorithm. This year I’ve realised that the number of followers doesn’t mean much to me. Instead I value all your comments and DMs so much more because you wanted to take time to write that comment and engage with me! That is so much more meaningful and powerful.

β™₯ Consistency is key – Having said that, posting consistently I have found is the best way to increase engagement and reach. Taking some time off to focus on finishing in the lab more than halved my reach on social media and my engagement with you guys took a knock too. So, it’s all a balancing act that I’m still learning.

β™₯ Honesty is the best policy – You guys stick around because you are interested in what I have to share and in order to keep those stats up earlier in the year I took unnecessary shortcuts to try and maintain that. But that wasn’t true to my voice and all because I was pushed for time. It is something I still truly regret and am still working on trying to fix. But it made me realise that just being honest and true to myself and you guys is the only way to do this. I needed to take a break and prioritise other things and just hope that you all wanted to come back when I did.

β™₯ Blogging has opened up so many incredible opportunities – The collaborations and offers I get sent still completely overwhelm me. Never would I have thought that I was worthy of this, and I still don’t. But I am truly truly grateful for the connections and networks that I am now a part of and I hope it can bring me success in the near future.

β™₯ I actually can inspire, educate & help others – These were the aims and goals of Soph talks science. Show anyone that they can be a scientist and science is a viable career option for them whilst also showing what they might be letting themselves in for. Whether its tips about my PhD experience or some big science news, I want to be able to share with you all the information I can to allow you to make your own informed opinions and choices.

β™₯ Your messages and comments truly mean the world to me & inspire me – One message that I have received that really sticks in my mind is ‘You inspired me to stay in science’. To know that me just sharing little snippets of what I do and what I’ve experienced has helped others to make their minds up on something or reconsider something, well, I don’t think I can put into words how much that means to me. It is everything. And all your questions help me think about the posts and info I’ve shared. It helps me to evaluate whether I’ve done it well, or how I could have done it better, but also inspires the majority of my posts and also inspires me to keep going.

β™₯ There are SO many tips, tricks and gadgets to help with blogging and scicomm – I’ve learnt so much about social media, blog photos, filming and so much more. But I don’t want to go too much into this one here as I have a blog post all about this lined up soon πŸ™‚ But its also made me realise how much more there is to learn.

β™₯ I have met some incredibly, inspirational people – I have met THE MOST AMAZING PEOPLE through blogging – whether that’s other bloggers or YOU! I have immersed myself in this world learning as I go and hoping to make a difference no matter how small, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without this amazing community. So believe me when I say I am truly truly grateful for every single one of you.

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So, what is in store for the next year of Soph talks science?

I imagine in the next year there is going to be a change of gear for Soph talks science. At the moment my future is a little bit up in the air as I decide what career path I want to follow, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop bringing you guys along for the ride! And there is always going to be more science and bringing you all more of what you want to see. So, I hope you want to stick with me.

I would love to start making more videos to go with everything I share on my blog and social media, and I would love to start making money from all that I do here and really grow Soph talks science as a brand.

But they’re the big long term goals I have. For now it’s all about thesis life, finishing the PhD and that transition from PhD student to whatever my post-PhD career holds for me. But its not just the serious side of my life, there will always be more fun science facts and posts coming your way – like part 2 of the celebrations tomorrow!

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Just one more thing before I end this post. I couldn’t finish without saying an absolutely massive

THANK YOU!

Truly from the bottom of my heart thank you all for your continued support and inspiration. Every like, comment, view, shout out, retweet, DM means the world to me. I absolutely adore blogging and sharing experiences and science with you in the hope that I can make a difference no matter how small to something or someone.

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Science love.

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β™₯ Have a question about this, working with me or anything else related to science? Contact me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

β™₯ I am a proud brand ambassador for Two Photon Art and CureGear. Go and treat yourself to a little something special.

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