2013 has been flying by like nothing. It totally does not feel like New Year again, I'm mentally still stuck somewhere between June and September. If I think about all that has happened this year, it seems to be enough to fill 12 months, but still my soul did not quite follow the fast pace of the passing days.
And even though it is just one day following another the turn of the year is always a good milestone to check the current situation and clarify the boundary conditions to make proper plans for the following months.
This where I'm at:
- The most important point on this list is of course my pregnancy, which will last another month or so. My private life has been very settled with quite a bit of nice routines and there was not much to worry about - which I totally didn't mind. This will certainly change when the LittleOne takes his first glimpse of Australian summer and a slight nervousness about his arrival has already set in. He will certainly not only turn our private life up side down but my professional life as well and then we'll see if all my preparations were enough to keep my science on a good track - between nappy changes and sleep deprivation.
- The second most important point is that I have used last year to work on my future career. I've started in Feb already to talk to people about different options post-Australia, about different fellowships or general employment and until August or so I was very confident that I'll have this sorted out until..... welll.... now! Which did not happen. I'm writing on a big fellowship application but at the moment I can't progress because I don't have enough technical information from my host institution. And as I predicted: if I don't get this information before Christmas, I won't get it until the New Year. So I am stuck and I'm really worried, if I messed up the communication with my hosts so badly at some point, that they are not willing to support me at the moment. At the same time I'm hoping that this whole mess-up has nothing to do with me but is just a bad coincidence of a lot of work and unis closing over Christmas. I'm starting to think about other options, even though I really want this project proposal to be handed in, because it is a great topic and it would be an even greater opportunity for me if it would get funded. But for my sanity I had to sign up on every academic job portal I could find.
- In the meantime while my project proposal is on hold, I am writing on another big paper. It's a summary paper of the huge project my PhD project was connected to and as my PhD advisor is too occupied to write it himself, he offered me to take over his part. This is a great opportunity for me and it prevents me from pondering too much about the messed up communication situation.
- Publication-wise I had the plan to publish at least 3 first author papers this year and in June this aim was still in reach. Finally, I only managed to publish one paper this year. But I finalized the "doomed project" and we might even get a cover page out of it. Even though it was not published with a 2013 stamp on it, this was a lot of work and a big achievement - and I will certainly not write such a big piece again any time soon!
- My PhD students start in their final years and while I am quite confident about the progress of one of them I am a bit worried that the other got lost on too many tangents that can't be properly tied together in a good thesis. I've learned a lot about how much guidance, how much pressure, how much freedom they need to progress well and now I have to use this knowledge to get them on the writing track and to get the focused on the gaps that need to be filled before they can finish. All while being on maternity leave...
- Mentally I am in a state that I really would like to move back home. Even though I know that coming to Australia has been the best choice for my personal and professional development and I used every opportunity my university offered me during this time. But here is not home and it is not even close to it. We came here with the plan to stay for a few years and even though everybody here told us that we most likely don't want to leave anymore after a few years, this has not become true for us. The time we had set for us to be here is over and now the longing for going back home becomes stronger every day. This is the main aim for 2014: to find a possibility to go back to our home country and if that is not possible then to reduce the traveling time at least significantly.
The New Year starts with a lo of open questions and besides the plan to move back I don't have any other specific plans yet. Too much depends on how easy-going the LittleOne will be and how long it will take to find our family rhythm. I'm very curious and a bit scared about all the things that will change this year. How we survive as a family, if I will be perceived differently in my professional context with a child, if we will find a new place to live and work that we both like, ...
Have a Happy New Year all you readers and bloggers out there, an exciting and fulfilling one, whatever that means for each single one of you!