Looking back, looking forward

Happy (belated) New Year! After Christmas in Germany, I was lucky to spend a week travelling around Europe with my Mum. It's actually the first time in the last three years that I haven't taken my laptop with me everywhere... I left it behind, and (aside from a few emails on my phone) I took a proper break from my PhD. Highly recommend it! 

Anyway, Mum and I spent a very memorable New Year's Eve together in Vienna, Austria, seeing the fireworks, drinking glühwein, and dancing the waltz. Frohes neues Jahr! 


Looking back at my 2017 goals

Given the relatively recent revolution of the Earth around the Sun, and my third annual PhD report coming up super soon, I figured it was about time to look back at the goals I set myself for 2017.

Goal 1) Publish my first first-author scientific paper: Unfortunately, not yet. Although, after re-thinking and re-drafting and re-analysing and re-writing, I've got a much better understanding of my data and how it fits into the wider scope of research on carnivorous plants, and plant nutrition more generally. I'm glad to have taken some extra time on this, and I'm certainly a lot closer to achieving this goal! 📝

Goal 2) Finish my field-work and glasshouse-work: Done! I had an amazing trip up to the Kimberley and a few trips in the southwest to study various species of Drosera, Byblis, and Utricularia, and Cephalotus follicularis. I also set up a glasshouse experiment, which in the end didn't pan out - disappointing to say the least, but I learnt a lot and am keen to try this again one day. Right now I'm working on finishing up all my lab-work at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, before I head back to Perth at the end of the month. 🌿

Goal 3) Create researcher profiles: Done, and hey, better late than never! I now have up-to-date profiles on Academia.edu, ResearchGate, ORCID, and LinkedIn - now I just have to work out how to use these profiles and get the most out of them... I'm much more at ease with my social media profiles on Twitter and Instagram, where I love sharing my postgrad experiences, photos of cool plants, and connecting with other people online! 💻

Goal 4) Film, edit, and upload my first sci-comm video: Not quite... I certainly filmed a lot in the field and properly outlined lots of my ideas! I did appear in some videos/podcasts, so I now have a little experience in front of a camera or microphone! Here's my interview with Erin Parke from the ABC News, a video made by UWA Sci-Comm student Charlotte Glance, my on-the-spot interview on Dan Kelsey-Wilkinson's Vaguely Accurate Podcast (4.18 onwards), and my full interview on Sadie Witowski's  PhDrinking podcast. Plus, I got a lot of great advice about how to actually put a video together, thanks to  Sydney Botanic Garden's Science Communicator Vanessa Barrett! Now all I need to do is invest in some video-editing software for Windows and start editing! 📹

Goal 5) Get more involved in student outreach: Definitely achieved! In 2017, I spoke to primary school students for Pollinator Week with Bronwyn Ayre, I spoke to nearly 200 high-school students about cool plants, and I mentored high-school students from across WA at the Science Cafe run by UWA and SciTech. I absolutely loved being able to talk to students and answer their questions about plants and science - and to hear about all of their ideas and passions! Definitely something I want to keep doing whenever I can! 🙋

So those were my goals for 2017: some achieved (yay!), some not quite yet... but I made a heck of a lot of progress on my PhD and had fun along the way. And that's what I'm going to focus on moving forward: enjoy the process!  

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant" - Robert Louis Stevenson

Note to self: growing takes time, energy, and rest

Note to self: growing takes time, energy, and rest


So... any new goals for 2018?

You betcha. There's two main goals on my mind for this year:

1) Finish my PhD! There's lots of data analysis, writing, and editing to come, but I'm excited to be finally putting my thesis together! Not sure what it is exactly; the fresh new year, being with my lab group in Germany, or having had such a nice break over Christmas, but I'm feeling very motivated right now! 🤓 

2) Figure out what comes next! You can probably tell that I'm pretty passionate about carnivorous plants, botany, ecology, conservation, science, communication, and outreach! I've also become really interested in science history and how ecology can intertwine with social, cultural and economic spheres of research. I have lots of ideas about things I would love to do, and fingers crossed I can make them a reality! 

So if y'all have any advice about the whole finishing-up-a-PhD and the whole looking-for-postdocs-and-job-opportunities stage of things, it would be greatly appreciated! Wishing you all a Happy New Year and the best of luck with your goals or resolutions 😄