Reflecting on 2018

As we celebrate Christmas and enter that awkward period between Christmas Day and the New Year when no-one knows what day it is, I think it is the perfect time to look back at the last 12 months and see what you achieved before looking ahead to the new year and a new start.

So, let’s take a look at what goals I set myself and see how I did:

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CAREER GOALS

2018 goal: Become Dr Arthur!

How did I do? I left this one until pretty late in the year, but on 18th December I passed my PhD viva and was awarded my PhD! I have a few minor corrections to do and a bit more paperwork before getting it officially but I am basically over the line. And those 4 years of blood, sweat and tears, ups and downs was finally all worth it.

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2018 goal: Become a published scientist!

How did I do? Another goal that took much, much longer than I had hoped but another goal that contributed to an awesome end to the year for me. While you can’t go and search for my paper yet, on my birthday two weeks ago I got the email I had been waiting for. My paper had been accepted for publication! Yay! A few more final checks and it will be out there for all the world to see.

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2018 goal: Find a post-PhD job!

How did I do? My third and final career goal that I set myself, and once again the third goal that contributed to my amazing end to the year. The day before my PhD viva I had a job interview and by the end of the week just before we drove home for Christmas I was offered the job. I have left the lab bench behind me and I am the science communications officer for the London Institute of Medical Sciences. And I am so freaking excited!

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SCICOMM GOALS

2018 goal: Reach 10k Instagram followers

How did I do? Well, thanks to all of you amazing people who like reading and sharing what I create, I smashed this goal back in September, and I am truly truly grateful. However, what it has taught me this year is while the numbers are great and I still get excited about passing the next milestone, I don’t worry about the fluctuations of followers I get. In fact, since I stopped fretting about the follower count, my engagement has doubled on my posts. It is all about creating those relationships and connections and discussions with all of you in the comments.

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2018 goal: Start sharing Soph talks science YouTube videos

How did I do? So technically I have uploaded two videos to my YouTube channel but they weren’t created purely for my channel. To be honest with you, it took much longer than I imagined to get some decent equipment, find a way to edit some clips together – I am still not a pro! – and I simply just did not have the time to create, record and edit this year while maintaining a blog and finishing my PhD and so on. Having said that, I truly believe video is the future of science communication so it is still something I am looking into. Actually in the name of trying to be inclusive and accessible to all – that might be a hint about one of my 2019 goals ๐Ÿ˜› – I would love to create videos to accompany blog posts too. If you would love to see more videos from me, please do let me know in the comments below. And if you would like blogs, podcasts, videos and photos all on the same topic or different topics then let me know too.

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2018 goal: Get involved with more scicomm events!

How did I do? Back in January I set myself the goal of doing 3 scicomm events, but in actual fact I’ve managed 9! Soapbox Science Brighton, Soapbox Science Bournemouth, Pint of Science, New Breed UK talk, a Science Room talk, three I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here events and New Scientist Live. I had a range of different roles from comms, to event manager, to speaker, to moderator. But I absolutely loved every single one of them and I can’t wait to get involved in these and more again next year. It gave me so many skills and much more experience and made me realise that scicomm was the career I wanted after my PhD was done.

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PERSONAL GOALS

2018 goal: Lose 3 stone!

How did I do? So this one I definitely didn’t succeed at, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Trying to manage this with everything else I have achieved this year would have really pushed me over the end I think. So, I didn’t succeed here but it will probably make another appearance next year.

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2018 goal: Start weightlifting.

How did I do? Another one that I made no progress on in 2018. Health and fitness for me was put on a back burner as wrapped up my PhD, let alone learning a new skill. It is still something I would love to do but might have to leave this as I start a new job and move and start a new routine.

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2018 goal: Explore 5 new places

How did I do? I’m not sure I succeeded on this one either. Our trip in March where we were going to explore the Algarve, Lisbon and Seville had to be cancelled. And while I went to Amsterdam and Cambridge for interviews and I had a few hours to wander around there, I haven’t reached my target of 5. I did continue to get sent a range of different postcards from around the world that allowed me to learn a little more about different places. But that travel bug I have is still there. All this reflection has made me realise is that I have neglected my personal goals and something I need to make sure I account for when setting my 2019 goals.

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Well 5 out of 9 ain’t bad is it? But more importantly I have achieved my big main goals: I will be a published scientist imminently, I have a job and you can now call me Dr Soph! 2018 has been a huge year for me and I have loved all of it – even when my PhD was driving me crazy. But I did manage to balance it out with some wedding planning too including finding the dress and I won two UK Blog AwardsI won two UK Blog Awards and was featured in a magazines and a podcast. 2018 has finished on an absolute high for me and I hope that will continue into the new year and beyond.

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What have you achieved in 2018? And what are you looking forward to in 2019? How are you going to make sure you achieve your goals?

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Science love.

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