Happy New Year! Looking forward and back [Part 1 – 2018 achievements]

man with fireworks
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

I thought I’d kick off my first proper post of 2019 with a look back on everything I have achieved last year and the goals I am setting myself for the new year ahead…

Because of the size of the post I have decided to split things up into two separate posts, looking at my achievements and goals separately, so keep your eyes peeled for my 2019 goals in part 2! But for now I want to look back on my five biggest achievements of 2018!


1. I got my blog up and running


This is something I had wanted to do long before I started my PhD and I am so pleased that I have managed to create a website and a Twitter profile to finally share my science on. I still need to work on creating some amazing content and keeping up with regular postings this year.


2. I am beginning to grow accustomed to the world of public speaking

auditorium chairs classroom college
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Anyone that knows me understands how much of a big deal this is. I have always HATED speaking in front of people, and not just in front of big groups in a lecture hall but speaking out in small groups also really scared me. During 2018 I have had so many opportunities to speak in front of people that it is starting to become a little bit more familiar to me. I’ve presented to big audiences of scientists, businesses and patient groups and more actively took part in group discussions with other students and colleagues. Now don’t get me wrong, the thought of presenting still gives me a heck of a lot of nerves, but not half as much as a year ago – my confidence has grown enormously.


3. I’ve supervised and mentored 6 students

alphabet class conceptual cube
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I absolutely love learning and with that comes a love for helping others to learn and grow too. I’m very grateful for getting the chance to work with some fab students, helping and inspiring them both in the lab and with their writing.


4. I’ve collected and analysed my first bit of data

person writing on notebook
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So I imagine some of you may be thinking ‘so what? That’s your job’ right? But in fact, during your first year of a PhD, it is not uncommon for scientists to not get any tangible data to analyse. I had a lot of experiments to optimise ready for data collection, and so I hadn’t put any pressure on myself to collect data in year 1, but in the last few weeks of the year I managed to get my first lot of results which look quite promising.


5. I finished my first year!

close up photography of pink birthday cake
Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com

Doing a PhD was something I’ve wanted to accomplish for as long as I can remember, but that hasn’t meant that it was a walk in the park the whole time. There have been points along the way where I have found things difficult, but going into my second year I have come to realise that this just represents the roller-coaster journey that doing a PhD entails. And so to reach the end of my first year has been such a big achievement for me which marks a quarter of the way through. I am very proud of how far I have come.



The New Year is a great time to reflect on what you have achieved in the last 12 months and helps you to set new goals for the year ahead. What have you achieved in 2018 that you are proud of? Let me know in the comments below ↓

2 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Looking forward and back [Part 1 – 2018 achievements]”

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