A Year in Review – The 13 Accomplishments and Failures of 2018

  1. PUBLISH THE FIRST PAPER OF MY PHD – ACCOMPLISHED

You may already know that I have the insane ability (or unfortunate tendency) to pay an awful lot of attention to detail – if only you could see how many versions of the paper draft I still have saved! And well, it took may have taken a solid few weeks (and way too many late nights) to finish writing, but hey, at least it got submitted [just] in time to make the submission deadline for inclusion in PCCP’s ‘Photodissociation & Reaction Dynamics’ themed collection!

Check out my paper on the mapping of the intrinsic absorption properties and photodegradation pathways of both the deprotonated and protonated forms of the commercially-available sunscreen oxybenzone here!

  1. ATTEND MY FIRST EXCITING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE – ACCOMPLISHED

Here’s the low-down:

Where did I go? Dublin, Ireland.

What for? The 29th International Symposium of Photochemistry (PhotoIUPAC).

What did I do? Visit a bunch of ‘tourist-traps’, listened to some highly interesting talks, and then subsequently presented my poster.

Visit any mention-worthy places? The Royal Botanical Gardens & Wicklow Mountains – the sights were absolutely stunning. I would highly-recommend the tour Wild Wicklow Tour company if you’re in town: the tour guide was amazing; the drive up (and around) the mountains were smooth (and fully air-conned); and was ultimately very well worth the money!

Meet any nice people? A handful of handsome personalities.

 

  1. WIN MY FIRST RSC POSTER PRIZE – ACCOMPLISHED

I’m still as shocked as you are.

  1. INCREASE MY SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS – ACCOMPLISHED

  2. BE MORE EFFICIENT WITH MY TIME – ACCOMPLISHED

Two words. Google Calendar. This wonderful existence is both your friend and your foe. I live around my Google Calendar. It lets me schedule in my free time, when to do laundry, allocate time to meet deadlines, and remind me of the things that I should remember automatically (but mostly don’t) – aka birthdays and group dinners.

  1. FIND MY WORK-LIFE BALANCE – ACCOMPLISHED

PhD students are notoriously known to struggle with finding time to care for themselves alongside whilst meeting every requirement and deadline related to their studies. In many ways, I am no different. On occasion, I tend to work weekends and late into the evening. But to make up for the ‘me’ time I lose when I do so, I block out a few days every month to focus on myself, to see my parents, to see friends, to just shop online. This pretty much works well for me and maybe it’ll work for others – everyone has to find their own way to achieve inner peace and let go.

  1. MAX OUT MY ISA for 2017/2018 – ACCOMPLISHED

Shove £20k into a Cash ISA? Been there. Done that.

  1. DONATE MORE – ACCOMPLISHED

JustGivinbg

Wasn’t this on my bucket list? £350 donated via Just-Giving to date. [edit: £398 at the time of posting]

  1. RELEARN THE LANGUAGES I’VE FORGOTTEN – ACCOMPLISHED/FAILED

Well since a few more trips to France are already in the works, I suppose that it wouldn’t hurt to get to speak more fluently, right? Girona 2019 as well, so I guess that would mean minoring in Spanish! This could be exciting. Maybe I should download Duolingo again?

  1. KEEP MONTHLY EXPENSES UNDER £500/MONTH – FAILED (BIG TIME)

Clearly I still online shop too much.

  1. FIND STABILITY – FAILED/ACCOMPLISHED

  • Establish a good credit score – ACCOMPLISHED
  • Get a full driving license – FAILED [edit: now edging closer to getting it done]
  • Buy my own flat in York – PENDING
  1. STOP BUYING UNESSENTIAL ITEMS – FAILED

As per point #10, I should work on meeting this.

  1. PURGE MY WARDROBE – FAILED (BUT ACHIEVED IN FEB-2019)

I had a lot of clothes. One might even consider the sheer volume of items I’ve collated over the last 5 years to be just enough to dress an entire nation (or something along the lines of that). That Marie Kondo technique we all know too well? Adopted it. How many charity bags did I fill up? SIX. A job very well done I reckon!

Well?

I’m going to go ahead and categorize 2018 as the year of sorting out my priorities, and wrap it up as a success. Who knows what 2019 will bring..

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