Off the back of an extremely hectic 2021, 2022 definitely ended up being much less crazy, although kind of still just as busy - so generally a win. Only short reflections this year - not that much to say!
Progress on Goals
With the chiller year came hitting way less goals, but I think that's definitely okay - I talk about this a bunch on Instagram, but I do always think that goals have varying priorities, and often I would much rather spend time with my friends and family than try to milk productivity out of every second of my life.
My eternal goal of starting a YouTube channel was (predictably) shelved for the year as I just didn't have the time to genuinely commit 10 hours a week to something while doing uni. I also did barely any writing - possibly because I was already doing a bunch for uni, or maybe I just don't enjoy writing that much - but the expensive blog platform subscription clearly did absolutely nothing to encourage me to write, so definitely need to move off that!
I don't usually mention health as it's a bit of a vague concept really, but I do think my physical health took a toll this year during university term times, I genuinely just couldn't justify losing many hours a week to the gym when I had to be writing - perhaps counter-productive, but in the end I did get all the work done so hopefully that was the correct decision.
On the positive side, I hit loads of my goals around work and study - in particular, I feel happy to have put a lot of time into the Master's rather than doing the bare minimum, and I think it's overall pretty impressive to manage it alongside working full-time.
In contrast to the last 2 years, covid has definitely (thankfully) been less of a fixture in my life this year - no lockdown this year even during the winter months, and almost no particular measures left in the UK other than wearing masks in a few high-risk places like hospitals.
Also I stopped working on the vaccine delivery software at work, so definitely nice to not hear about covid every second of every day - sometimes it's hard to know that something is having such a mental impact on you until the load is lifted
Nothing else to say, other than I hope this is not a heading in 2023 reflections!
Extremely pleased with things on this front, although now that I'm almost finished I'm definitely moving into the "can't wait for this to be done" zone - but need to remind myself that I still have 6 months left! I did a big push to get a lot of reading done in November and December so I'm definitely coming into the year very tired, but hopefully this means I can take a bit of a break before cracking on with my dissertation.
I've found the Master's incredibly interesting, not least because in the time that I have started it, there have been a great number of new things happening around the AI ethics space, most recently OpenAI's Dall-E 2 and ChatGPT - both of which have had a huge amount of hype around them online.
Being the first year my program is running, there have definitely been a bunch of teething issues around course organisation, but I'm kind of used to chaos because of the nature of working in startups, so I haven't minded that at all. It's quite exciting doing something so cutting edge though - there's lots of space to pick which topics you're looking at, and there's a freedom in not being tied into expectations around what previous students have done.
I was hoping to share more about the process of work/study life, and some of my thoughts around tech and ethics, but the essay-writing basically took so much time that I didn't really have time for meta-analysis - I expect dissertation-writing will be the same, but I hope to share more on these sorts of topics in the second half of the year
Big news this year as I moved jobs in November - not the best idea while also studying, but I'm pleased to have spent so long working on a whole bunch of things at Accurx in my 2 and a half years there, and to have seen the company grow so much in such a short time - it was almost 10 times bigger when I left, which is an insane amount of growth to have worked through, and so many good lessons for me when it comes to starting my own company.
I wasn't entirely sure if I'd stay in health-tech or tackle another industry, but I'm happy to have moved to a smaller health-tech startup, and to be building up some industry knowledge rather than building just technical knowledge and moving industries all the time.
I also became a senior engineer this year, which is a very big milestone for me, so I'm extremely pleased about that. Senior is a bit of a nebulous term, but I definitely intend to talk more online about what senior roles entail, and how to be an effective senior engineer while still growing in your career.
Hobbies (or lack thereof)
Reflecting on the year, I have done almost nothing hobby-wise this year - between work, study and social life I have basically been booked back-to-back the entire year.
I basically have a list on my phone called 'things to do after uni' that has just been building up all year, and so I expect that the second half of the year can be a bit more focused on pursuing things that require a bit more dedicated time - aka playing more piano, sewing my own clothes etc.
Goals for the year
I say that I'll do it every year, but I really feel like this is the year that I'll finally start the YouTube channel, if for no other reason than to procrastinate from disseration-writing...but we shall see.
I have a big goal this year around sorting out my finances - I'm definitely very responsible with money when it comes to income/outgoing - but I'm not particularly optimised around investment and making the most out of my savings - lots to learn this year
I also have been absolutely terrible at "branding" stuff this year - I've been very inconsistent with posting online, and have barely given any talks or featured on podcasts - more this year I hope, and would quite like to do a conference talk at some point this year
Realistically absolutely nothing will get done until July other than the Master's, but hopefully will finish the year with a "productive" year behind me