We're a little crazy, about science!

A year in review

So long 2020, while the calendar is a human construct, I hope that the significance means something for mankind as a whole. Who knows maybe we will finally take the pandemic seriously, or global warming, maybe even gun violence. Yeah, I don’t think so either, but one can hope. In lieu of stating my hopes for humanity, let’s just take a quick look back at the year I’ve had and what this new year holds. This is my year in review.

Let’s be real, none of us did as much as we planned, but the pandemic didn’t care about what our goals were and the best laid plans of mice and men or something like that. Still, with the passing of time things were done this year, we didn’t just pause life completely (as much as we should’ve). I’m not a fan of looking backwards, I prefer to look forward. Life has never been particularly kind to me so the future always held such wonder and promise that it made more sense to look ahead at what could be instead of back at what has been.

We’re in the middle of my second year of 365 days of academia. A daily blurb about my life as a PhD candidate. Some of my posts were to complain, some were to beg people to take the pandemic seriously, and some were purely to teach people something I found interesting. My top posts this past year were my “know your spinal cord” series. That series was probably one of the most complete looks at the spinal cord online right now (as far as I could find). Even though it is a high level overview of the spinal cord and all its amazingness I’m glad others have found it useful and slowly more and more people have been finding it.

Ironically another high performing post was my “Wear the damn mask” post. My personal plea for everyone to mask up and spread out. In my second year of doing this, I’ve discovered that you never know which posts will catch on and get a larger viewing than normal. I wasn’t expecting people to read it or even care, but it turns out people were interested and hopefully some of them read it and listened. We all need to do our part in this pandemic and science communication is one of the ways I’m trying to help.

Despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, my tiny blog has had its best year in terms of visitors since I’ve started it. That’s a whole lot of readers and I’m thankful to each and every one of you who stop by on a regular basis to hear my thoughts about everything. It’s an honor and a responsibility, one I don’t take lightly. I hope this growth continues into this year and I can use this platform for some good.

I even had some personal (see: non-blog related) achievements that came this year. I read more than I had planned for this year, I taught some classes, got accepted into the future faculty program at my school, modeled the COVID-19 pandemic, and I did some experiments to help progress my degree. I even got my PhD committee together, so that will be helpful when I finally start writing this new paper (a third paper now that I need to work on, geez!) since my main PI wants me to publish the results from an experiment we did prior to doing my PhD proposal defense. Something to get done this year I guess! Along with the other papers I’m still working on getting published, it will be interesting to see what gets published first.

In short, the past year has been progress, albeit slow progress. This year is full of promise though and I look forward to seeing what I can get done. My goals for this year are pretty simple (at least in my mind) do my PhD proposal defense, publish (finally!) some of my research, and get some more data for my PhD out of the way. If all goes well I’ll be done in two more (school) years, or in 2023, at least ideally! The future will always be full of possibilities; I’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay to look backwards too, at least from time to time, in order to remind yourself how far you’ve actually come.


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