Friday, December 31, 2004

The year in review

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the retrospectives: the big news stories of the year, the big sports stories of the year, the trends of the year, etc. It's amazing how much happens in just 365 days. Equally amazing is how quickly we forget the "unforgettable" events that happened just a few months ago.

Like most other people, I do quite a bit of reflection at this time of the year. What happened to me, in what ways did I grow and change, where did I fail, what do I look forward to in the year ahead, etc. So, here's a look back at my year.

Professional accomplishments:
1. I survived another year on the tenure track! This is always cause for celebration. Seriously though, surviving is huge, but I'm also still loving my job. I love teaching, and I have tried a bunch of new things in the classroom and found some things that really work well that I will continue to do in the future. Research is going well (see next point). I've received very positive feedback so far, and I seem to be on the right track towards the big prize, tenure.

2. I had a journal article accepted and published this year. I'm very happy with the article; it's probably the best one I've written yet. Plus, this puts me a bit ahead of schedule in terms of number of journal articles I'd like to have published/in the pipeline before tenure.

3. I gave a couple of invited talks. Professionally, my name is getting out there. This is always a good thing.

Personal accomplishments:
1. I'm still married, and happily so. Even though Mr. Jane and I have known each other for a long time, it amazes me that we're still learning things about each other. Marriage is not always easy, and we've had our share of disagreements this year, but it's definitely an adventure, and mostly a good one.

2. For the first time since graduation, I met up with my college friends---as a group. Long story, but my friends and I had a bit of a falling-out early on in our senior year, and I never felt truly comfortable with the group after that. There were a lot of hurt feelings and feelings of betrayal on my part that I never quite got over. But I went this year wasn't that bad. Fun, even. Time really does act as a healer, sometimes.

3. There were a couple of home improvement projects that I did by myself that turned out very well. I am Bob Vila!

Biggest failures:
1. This job has forced time management on me in some respects, but I'm still not completely happy with my time management. I feel like I procrastinate way too much. Time management is my #1 priority in the new year.

2. My name is getting out there professionally, but I've been really lazy about things like submitting papers to conferences on time and actually attending conferences in my field.

3. There were a few little academic projects (more like improving-the-undergraduate-experience projects) that I cut from my to-do list this year because of lack of time. I am disappointed that I did not make time to get at least one of these started.

And last but not least, a couple of resolutions:
1. Time management. I need to prioritize better, to learn to shut my door, to stand up to my time-sucking colleagues more and be adamant about carving out research time for myself.

2. Time for creative pursuits, and for relaxation in general. I burned out big time this year because I worked too much. I love doing crafty and musical things, but these are the first to go when time gets tight. I would like to make more time for these things, to replenish and refresh myself. Also, I'd like to learn to take time off without beating myself up over not working.

Happy new year to all of you, and here's hoping 2005 is a stellar year for us all!


~profgrrrrl~ said...

Happy New Year, Jane.

Definitely work to make time for creative stuff and relaxation. I'm coming to learn that these things are more important than they at first seem ... pity we don't get tenure credit for them. I've been thinking about it over the last few weeks under the "service to self" category (which I may blog on later today, during a cleaning frenzy break).

Congrats on the journal article. That's great!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I need to work on time management, too - and I think it connects to the relaxation thing, because my (bad) habit is to procrastinate and futz around thinking, "I'm going to start working in just 5 minutes." Then 2 hours go by, and I haven't accomplished anything, but I haven't really relaxed and enjoyed myself either. I'd be better off actually putting aside work and doing something fun for an hour, then working for an hour.

But still, it sounds like you had a very productive year!

(And why is it that I consider this such high praise?? Sounds like it was happy too!)