Decade in Review

I saw this over on Laura’s blog and thought it was a pretty cool idea, so I’m stealing it leveraging some OPI1 and do my own summary of the first decade of the 21st century!

In 2000 I rang in the new millennium atop what Ontarians called a “mountain,” (but British Columbians would refer to as a “bump”) – my then-husband and I decided we wanted to do something memorable for New Year’s Eve 1999, so we hiked up the Niagara Escapement just before midnight and from that vantage point we watched the fireworks from a few different towns at the same time. That year also saw me graduate from the University of Guelph with my Masters of Science (Human Biology & Nutritional Science) and move across the country to start my PhD at UBC. So, yeah, 2000 was a pretty big year.

In 2001 I started coordinating a science outreach program at UBC, a position I would hold for five years. Doing that was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made, as it introduced me to a lot of amazing people with whom I’m still good friends today; as well, I used it to develop a lot of useful skills2 that have helped me immensely in the career path I’ve since chosen to follow.

In 2002 I taught my first every university course (as the course instructor, not just a TA) – not too bad for a 25 year old! I also received my first ever grant (just a small one; it funded the first ever Western regional conference for that science outreach program I ran, as well as a bit of cash to buy some supplies). Other than that, it was a pretty average year – well into the swing of being a grad student, but the end was still a long way off.

In 2003 I received my first teaching award; I do pride myself on being a good instructor, so it was pretty awesome to be recognized for this work. As well, I was nominated for a research award based on the first poster I ever presented at a conference; upon seeing the two other nominees in my category, learned that “it’s an honour just to be nominated” is not just a saying!

In 2004 I got to be in the one and only wedding party that I’ve ever been in – I was a bridesmaid at Sarah & Dave‘s wedding. Sarah and the rest of the bridal party came out to Vancouver for a bachelorette weekend in June, at which time we dubbed ourselves “The Coalition of the Wedding”3. In November, my niece was born and in early December I flew out to Toronto on the cheapest flight ever4 to meet her – did I ever mention that she’s the most amazing kid ever? 2004 was also the year I started feeling like the PhD was taking forever, because they tell you when you start that it should take four years to finish5 and the end was still nowhere to be seen!

2005 started out OK – I received two more grants (both for the science outreach program). Then I won a prestigious6 award for my research and got to present my work at the conference of the group granting the award. I also had my first two papers published. And then my world came crashing down around me when my then-husband confessed to having affairs.

2006 was pretty much the worst year I could imagine. In addition to my own divorce, there was the breakup my sister’s marriage, a complete clusterf#$% with my first scheduled PhD defense, and the completely unexpected disappearance of the postdoc position I had secured at Stanford University due to funding falling through7, which I found out about just five days before my actual PhD defense8. The one shining moment in the year two thousand and suck was that I did, in fact, get my PhD, but it lacked some of the luster one would have liked it to have had given that (a) the stress of everything made my performance at my defense a whole lot crappier than it would have been had I been in top form and (b) it precipitated a six month period of unemployment, the only time I’ve been unemployed since I got my first paper route at age eight. Despite all the suck, 2006 was also the year I learned the most about myself and where I truly learned what amazing friends I have.

2007, mercifully, was a *much* better year than 2006. I actually enjoyed my period of “funemployment,” punctuated by brief freelance jobs here and there to keep me afloat, which was also helped along by the fact that my friend Danielle let me share her basement suite, making our rent amazingly cheap9. I was also dating10 for the first time in my adult life, since I’d been married since age 20. I also turned 30 in 2007 and celebrated by getting a bunch of friends together to go surfing in Tofino! I had three papers published. I completed two half marathons. I got my first big girl job in March. And at the end of the year, I met Tod. So, yeah, 2007 was a pretty good year!

In 2008, was the first year where I really got to do any reasonable amount of travel: I visited my first territory as part of a contract to do some work in Yellowknife, as well as going to Calgary, Vegas, San Fran, and Mexico. I spent the better part of the year focused on writing a grant application to continue the program I worked for (i.e., to continue to fund my salary). I also finally got the laser eye surgery that I’ve wanted for so long. At the end of the year, we lost my Granny.

In 2009 I started my new job, which I’ve absolutely been loving! I made my first trip to the east coast since I was a kid, visiting New Brunswick for a conference. I did my first11 24 hour Blogathon. And I did another half marathon, though my having what, in retrospect, was probably H1N1 hampered my performance. Also, this year seems to have been a year for buying stuff – my Smart car, my MacBook Pro and my iPhone were all 2009 purchases. For friends, it was a year for babies (Sarah & Dave‘s had Teddy, Clayton & Jodelene had Mason, and Alicia & Paul have their first baby on the way (though he/she will be a 2010 kid)).

And now we are sitting on the cusp of 2010. I find it so hard to believe – I remember being a kid where saying “2000” meant “the future” and now that’s A DECADE ago. I have a good feeling about 2010 though… and my early January trip to the Dominican Republic and then tickets to some Olympic hockey games for February sound like a good start!

  1. I’m reading a supercheezy audiobook right now called “The One Minute Millionaire” where they talk about all the things you can leverage, like other people’s money (OPM), other people’s time (OPT), other people’s work (OPW) and other people’s ideas (OPI). And I decided that from now on I will refer to stealing other people’s ideas as “leveraging some OPI” []
  2. e.g., managing people and budgets []
  3. it was a topical joke for 2004 []
  4. back in the old Jetsgo days! []
  5. despite the fact that the average time to complete a PhD is SIX years, not four []
  6. if I do say so myself! []
  7. I position for which I’d turned down a postdoc position at McGill University, btw []
  8. which, let me tell you, is that last freaking thing you need to be dealing with during a PhD defence in the middle of the worst year of your life []
  9. this was part of the “learned what amazing friends I have” in the latter part of ’06 []
  10. or as my friend Ziba refers to it: “when Beth was crazy” []
  11. and likely only []

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