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The blanket I made for my eldest nephew & his reaction!

As a member of academia, I feel like we have two “New Years”. First, there is the start of the new academic year in September. This is followed by the official start of the new year on January 1st. I feel as though we are in a unique position to have a second point of reflection and possibly goal setting. Each academic year, I start off with new goals as I reflect back on the previous year. Four months later, I reflect on those goals… and this time around, realistically, I’m not impressed with my progress thus far. To be clear, I’m not upset about it, just acknowledging that I can do better. My mental health has taken priority over many academic goals, and that’s okay.

As this official new year starts, I am more determined to meet my goals. However, I am now very aware of the need for work/life balance. In my case, I aim to make this balance happen by working out 5-6 times a week (this is new for me, but have found it to be pivotal in my mental health; I’ve set a goal of completing a Mudhero Run in June), sticking to meal prepping (I started eating takeout WAY too much at the end of the year), spending time with friends from both school and outside of school, and spending more time with family (I typically only go out once every few months, my nephews are awesome, I need more of that in my life!).

The rest of my time will be committed to achieving my PhD milestones, building my online presence, and publishing (I have about five manuscripts lingering over my head…). The most important thing I need to do in order to achieve these goals is to become more organized. I have been researching the bullet journal method. I think it is a great way to visualize your goals, tasks, and events. It allows you to be conscious of your tasks by reviewing your tasks and reflecting on their timing and importance every week/month. I think this will be very important in keeping a general to do list, and setting specific timelines for projects.

I also aim to set more time aside to being more engaged on Twitter and on my website here. I hope as I move on to my dissertation proposal, I will use this as a platform for reflection. As well, the website provides me a unique opportunity to engage in open research, where I share my thoughts, progress and challenges here with the research community.

I am starting this calendar year feeling optimistic and reinvigorated. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish academically, physically, mentally, and create memories with those I hold dear. I look forward to embarking on this journey with you, and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Categories: Reflections

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