2018 – Year in Review

Seems like yet another year is drawing to a close. How do they keep passing so quickly? Stop that! Since it’s the end of the year again, I guess it’s time for another year in review about what I’ve been up to. 2018 was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Nothing particularly bad, but also nothing amazingly awesome.

The good stuff:

A couple of good things that happened this year – I published a couple of papers, including one of my  PhD chapters (which I still need to blog about), a correction of a previous paper, and a paper from my first MSc student. I’ve also had another paper submitted from some of the zebrafish work I was doing, which is currently in review, and hopefully will have another pterosaur paper submitted soon, lead by Mark Witton.

I was invited to do a few different public talks which was exciting, and also got invited to participate in my first symposium at a conference, which will take place in 2019. I went to a few conferences, including giving a talk at PalAss about a new pterosaur I’m working on with Paul Barrett, which I’m really excited about. I’m also excited that I had a good year of paper citations, which I hope will continue into the future!

I finished off my job working on the zebrafish, which I’m really glad I did. I learned a lot about fish, arthritis, and CT scanning, which at least some I’ll be able to use in the future. I also started a new job working on scans of early tetrapods, which has been nice to get back to fossils. I’ll  be doing that for another few months, and see what happens after that’s done. I seem to be turning into the general CT specialist who can do some CT work for people in the department when they need it, which suits me well while I’m looking for my own funding. It’s teaching me a lot of new skills, and giving me experience in different groups and areas I’ve never worked in before.

Our company had the best year we’ve had so far, including making some good contacts and being voted ‘Most Investable’ at Quantum Start-Up Week. We’re finishing up a couple of major orders, and looking forward to seeing where it’s going to go in the future.

On a personal level, I’ve really settled back into life in Bristol and am enjoying the city. We’ve got a great flat, I’ve just applied for citizenship, and things are going generally  well.

The bad stuff:

But of course this year wasn’t all good. I’m still struggling to find a post doc, despite interviewing for a few, and applying for what seems like a million. It’s tough to keep going when people tell you that the idea is good, but the funding agencies seem to have a different idea. I’m going to keep pushing for at least another few months and see where it goes.

Part of my issue with finding funding is related to the fact that I don’t want to move, which I’ve discussed a bit about my reasons. I know that this limits me academically and in my career, but right now, I think it’s more harmful to move somewhere for a 2 year job somewhere that I might be miserable rather than just staying put. Hopefully I’ll find something nearby soon, or one of us will get a permanent job, but I think we have a few years until that will happen.

I’ve also been a bit more open about some bad things that have happened in the past, like why I don’t want to move, and also some of my PhD experiences. Maybe I’m too open about some of these things, but I think it’s important especially for future students and for other people who are struggling to  know that these things happen to everyone.

Looking forward:

I’m looking forward to 2019. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year. My brother, sister and dad are coming to visit in March, which will be my brother’s first time in Bristol, so that’s exciting. I’ve got lots to look forward to this year,  both in terms of work and personally. I’m going to try to be better with blogging and blogging more, but I say that every year and it never happens…

I hope that you all continue being interested in what I’m doing, and I’ll try to be better at actual scientific communication, starting with blogging about some papers I haven’t covered yet. Stay tuned for more fossil-y goodness in 2019 (I hope)!

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