2017 – A big year

As 2017 comes to a close, I am doing my usual reflections on the last year, and it turns out there’s a lot for me to reflect on this year.

2017 was probably the biggest year for me in terms of life-changing events and things going on in my life, and there are a few things that I am super proud of and would like to focus on:

  1. I completed my PhD. Obviously this is one of the biggest for me. As some of you may know, my PhD was not exactly the most straight forward or easiest, due to many circumstances beyond my control, which I will write about in the near future. I managed to submit my thesis pretty much on time with my aims, and I successfully passed my viva with minor corrections. There were times that I didn’t think I’d make it, and now that I’ve graduated, I am so glad it’s over. I owe a lot to a number of people, and thanks to everyone who helped me along the way. I am so proud to now be Dr. Martin-Silverstone. My only regret is that my Mom didn’t get to see me take this journey, and I wish could see me now.
  2. I became a permanent resident of the UK. I know that given current events in the UK this is not considered by many to be a wise move, and a lot of people have questioned my choice. However, for me, this was and is the right decision. My visa expires in January, and I am not ready to leave the UK anytime soon (my husband has a job, I’m happy here, we have a flat…), so I needed to do something. Residency (or Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR as they put it) was actually not that much more expensive than renewing my visa, and it is permanent. I no longer have to worry about renewing my visa ever 5 years, and getting through the border, and all these other things. It was a stressful (and expensive) process, but I’m so glad it’s done.
  3. I spent 3 months in Japan. And I absolutely loved it. Spending 3 months in another country while you’re finish your thesis may not be the best idea in the world for some (there were some very stressful periods), but in the end, I think it actually was the best choice for me. I was pretty isolated, which meant that I didn’t get distracted by tea breaks, pubs, movies, friends which kept me very focused. And, when I did want a break, I got to do some amazing things like travel to Kyoto and see the Golden Palace, or go to the sacred island of Miyajima, or just go for a ramen break. And I can’t think of another time that this would be as easy as now.
  4. I gave a big talk at a huge conference. I’ve given conference talks before, but usually to crowds of 100-150. This year, I gave a talk to a much larger audience, in an important session. I didn’t win the prize, but a friend of mine did, and I’m so proud that I even made it into the session.

These are my big highlights for 2017. I also started a short-term postdoc/research assistant position, in a subject very different to anything I’ve done before, which is helping me learn a lot, and I published a few papers.

So what about 2018?

Moving forward is a bit of a question mark for me right now. After completing my PhD, like many recent graduates in my position, I find myself in an area of unknown future. I have this short-term research position that has a possibility to be extended by a bit, but nothing beyond that. I had an interview for a postdoc that I was reasonably optimistic about, but unfortunately did not get. So now what? I have an idea for a postdoc project that I am really excited about and trying to find funding for, which I’m hoping will result in a few years of postdoc. In the meantime, I’ll continue trying to publish my other work, including my 3 remaining PhD papers, applying for postdocs and funding as they come up, putting some time into the business my husband and I own, and doing some more outreach.

This year I’m looking forward to a few things, including giving some public talks that I have been invited to do, finishing off some long-overdue projects, and moving on to bigger and better things. Hopefully at some point I will get a job, but I’m not sure when that would be if I do.

I don’t normally do resolutions, but I think this year my resolution is to publish the remaining papers from my PhD, so I can move on to other projects without thinking about PhD work. I’m also going to try to blog more often, and not go months in between posts, as well as picking up with Palaeocast again.

I’m looking forward to 2018, and I hope it’s as kind to me as 2017 was!

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