Hello all, I know it has been a very very long time since my last post but I couldn’t enter another year without doing my yearly round-up post. My previous round-up posts usually have some structure to them but to be honest, the way 2021 played out for me there was no order with how this year went.
A stint of self-isolation due to me having COVID lead to me being away from the lab for a while. This sparked a downhill spiral towards a lack of motivation towards my PhD and also my other hobbies. My birthday month (February) wasn’t any better apart from the few hours on my birthday that I spent with flatmates and virtually online with my fantastic mates. In terms of my ongoing battle with a normal sleeping pattern, it reached its breaking point whereby I was up at night doing nothing but worrying and sleeping during the day missing important meetings. The idea of me taking a break from my studies came up, but somehow I ended up “pushing through” while hearing bad news of my Dad’s near-fatal accident and not knowing the extent of his condition and injuries for a few days. I made it to the end of term and was preparing for the submission of both my confirmation/upgrade report and viva. I took it upon myself to stay away from the lab for even longer to focus on my current analysis at the time. Long story short, my transfer viva didn’t go 100% exactly as I would have liked. As of today, I am currently in a state of limbo whereby I didn’t outright fail however I need to produce more experimental data before I can officially pass. In hindsight, those months of me drifting away from the lab came back to haunt me).
Whilst prepping for my viva, I then pushed myself to push myself to the limit and started working at a very demanding part-time weekend retail job to have extra income for fun/personal things. As I was trying to get back to the flow of conducting experiments/getting data, I suffered a similar setback that I experienced earlier on in the year in terms of a lack of motivation and constant worrying. This particular downwards spiral to a low mood state was triggered by a romantic situation that resembled something I previously experienced. However, on this occasion, my mind was also juggling other concerns and frustrations. This period taught me that I do indeed try to juggle too many things at once and also taught me the importance of unapologetically sticking to my guns in terms of romance. This time around, I took the bold step to take a break from my PhD and also got signed off from work. I eventually ended up leaving the part-time retail job and opted for more flexible hours that are more local to me at university.
I will say that the break did some good in terms of picking up my low mood state and slowly sparking my motivation for research again. Also, getting involved with my Black in Cardio folk once again for Black in Cardio Week 2021 did wonders in terms of re-igniting my love of research whilst establishing a newfound interest in science communication. Overall, I can say that I am in a better place now as I am drawing 2021 to a close now that I have started some form of therapy again to help manage how I process external situations and how this impacts my mood.
Now one of the best highlights of my 2021 was witnessing the marriage of one of my good sister friends and being a bridesmaid for her wedding. Although it was stressful at times, I enjoyed my first rodeo as a bridesmaid and I cannot wait for the rest of my friends to get married to do it all again! The other big highlight for me was finally having my Dad back home after being abroad for so long due to the pandemic and his accident. This has been a glimmer of hope considering the loss my family has experienced in 2021 (notably the loss of two of my uncles who were very very close to my parents may their souls rest in eternal peace). I am so grateful for the fact that my Dad even returned home safely to us and I am hopeful for his full recovery.
All in all, I just want to say that I am simply just happy that I have seen the end of another year and I honestly can’t wait to enter the new year hoping it’s much better than this one. I also want to sincerely thank all of my family and friends who supported me during some of the lower darker points of 2021 without them I honestly don’t know how would have coped and pulled through!
Until next time,