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2014: Looking back on a few milestones, and forward to clarity and direction

If I had to sum up 2014 in one word, it would be dynamic – constantly changing and full of activity.

I had some big milestones in 2014. The first 3 months of 2014 were crazy. I was preparing for my comprehensive exam, submitting revisions to a rather frustrating manuscript and still recovering from a nearly ten month long field season. In the last week of March I attempted, and passed my qualifying exam, after which I needed a good week to recover (anyone who has done their qualifying exam knows the ‘post quals/comps’ feeling). By the beginning of April, the snow was melting and I had to get outside and back into the field. And I was totally fine with that – it’s where I love to be. And that was how I spent my time, from early spring to late fall. I was running around collecting data from the experiments that took 10 months to set up the previous year. I haven’t analyzed anything yet, but the fact that I even have data is a huge relief and a success all in itself. Now I finish off 2014 doing some lab work with my samples from the summer and entering thousands and thousands of sheets worth of data into the computer.

Outside of research I tried some new things this year too. I have always volunteered and been involved in a lot of activities and groups outside of school. One specifically was a Teaching and Learning group for grad students that I am hoping to revive in 2015. We fell off the map as the summer approached and am hoping to get back into it in the New Year. My match with my Little Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters came to an end this summer when she turned 18 and I started as a leader with Kingston Junior Naturalists which has been an incredible experience thus far.

In 2014, I really became intrigued by professional development and the resources that Queen’s has to offer us as graduate students and I blogged a lot about that (here and here and many more). In 2015 I’d like to think about everything I’ve done, whether it is professional development, work experiences, or just skills in general etc. and how each of those has can be targeted to specific jobs, etc.- and of course, blog about my experiences doing this.

2014 was also the year I tried out lots of different ideas to increase my productivity and time management. I’m not stuck at a desk year round, but when I am I struggle. I blogged quite a bit about this (like here and here), but recently attended an Expanding Horizons seminar where I got lots of new ideas and again, I’d love to share those in 2015.

Finally, I went into 2014 with career-related clarity and direction, and I leave 2014 without either of those. I think I’m OK with that but I have a feeling that this is probably a common thing for graduate students to experience. I’d like to explore this more as I blog in 2015. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has haunted me in 2014 and I think some posts that compile resources or at least start a dialogue about these types of questions would be a great idea for 2015.

2014 was a dynamic year and whatever 2015 has to bring, I’d like to wish all of our readers a healthy and happy New Year. If there is something you’d like the Gradifying team to blog about in 2015, feel free to comment or shoot us an e-mail!

Posted in All, General, Jobs and Careers, New Students, Student Perspective
2 comments on “2014: Looking back on a few milestones, and forward to clarity and direction
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