I’ve never been one for sentiment. Birthdays, Christmases, New Years were merely days on the calendar. A merry cheer but a hollowness inside – just another moment in your year’s journey. The new year has always signalled a fumbling with dates, rather than the celebration of resolutions. However, it does bring a new motto.
For now, I think it’d be useful to collect my thoughts as per LearningaDay tradition.
Part I – Look back
1. The Theme or peak moment:
a) 2019 was the year of dedication
b) 2020 will be the year of opening horizons
Runners Up Theme or peak moment
a) 2019 was also the year of good habits
b) 2020 will also be the year of exploration
2. What were my 2 greatest successes/memories from 2019?
The internship was a buoyant success that changed your outlook on the future, but without doubt the two biggest memories are the beginning – LoLSoc O-Week, and the end – ITTA Open and Para Championships.
The first was painful but you’ve never been pushed as hard, never slept as little, never cried as much. It was about being aggressive and yet accommodating, a follower taking control of leadership.
The second was life-changing. The event itself was messy, frantic and empty. But the preparation for it was gruelling, rewarding – a whirlwind of growth and tests. Delivering presentations, planning volunteers, sorting through oh-too-many emails, balancing commitments and so much more. You’re where you are now because of those few hectic months.
Honourable mentions: Overloading trimesters, UNSW TTC Co-pres, hangouts and parties
3. What were my 2 biggest lessons learnt from 2019?
Moderation is key – in workload, in energy, in health. Pushing yourself or even indulging too much never ends well and you felt the very real impact of burnout this year.
A long road awaits – year after year, my perspective grows wider. On career, on people, on friends and most importantly, on possibilities. This year, I reached places I didn’t know existed.
4. Looking back, what were the top 2 factors I optimized for in my life and career in 2019? Did I optimize for the same things I will measure my life with? (Examples of what I optimized for could be money, learning, family, title, impact on company, fame, etc.)
In my pre-career phase, I optimised for learning.
Learning in terms of knowledge – I read and I listened to podcasts, I learnt more things.
Learning in terms of growth – I assumed leadership positions, I pushed myself to be more skilled and more capable.
Part II – Look forward
5. What themes am I thinking about for 2020? Are there any “process goals” I want to commit to?
2020 is my last year in undergraduate studies. With that, my sights are firmly planted on my professional future. Development and professional awareness (as dry as it sounds) is hopefully a theme of the next year. I’m also thinking about pushing into unexplored territory, of joining societies and doing more learning and more fun-ing than any of my past years.
Not towards these themes, but general process goals that I will maintain.
Health. (sleeping enough, exercising regularly, eating fine)
Learning. (reading, listening, learning more about psych)
Self-care. (catchups, bushwalks, me-time)
6. What skills do I want to develop in 2020 (professional and personal)? What actions am I going to take to develop them?
I engaged in it this year, but one priority is confident communication skills. Of being able to present and articulate things thoughtfully, with less of the nerves.
Another skill which is in constant development is maximising time usage. Much you have read, and much you have improved – but you still are far from meeting deadlines well and knuckling down.
Both can be targeted during my internship. But beyond those weeks, you will look for part-time experiences that go beyond the mundane. You’ll look to conferences and other learning opportunities.
7. Who/what were my top 2 sources of inspiration and learning in 2019? How do I plan to engage with them in 2020?
In taking up leadership roles, especially in ITTA – which exists beyond a single university – taught me much more than my early volunteering days. Leading and planning out large projects is far more educational than doing the grunt work.
Another great source of learning were podcasts and books. In terms of consumption time, they played a very minor role this year, but perhaps that itself speaks volumes of its effect on me. I learned more about myself, about controlling emotions, about perspectives, about deepening passions and much more.
Audiobooks and more regular reading will thus continue to be a focus. Joining the more established groups and societies fearlessly will also be a goal of mine.
8. Who are 2 people I’d like to stay in better touch with in 2020?
The people I grew closer to, the people I met made my year. They made it fun, they made it bearable in tough times – growing the depth and number of friendships was a roaring success.
But no one stands out.
I want to stay close to family.
I want to meet new friends, and more that challenge me. Last year, more than others, I assumed a mentor and leadership figure. This year, I want to feel naive and young and small again. I want to grow closer to people who open the possibilities for me and make me question who I am and who I want to be.
The people of 2019 – I love you, you made it amazing, and of course I would want to stay close but 2020 promises to be a whole new crowd.
9. What have I got planned in 2020 to prioritize rest and renewal (e.g. holiday plans, weekend activities, hobbies)?
With the freeness of driving, endless options are open. For weekend trips. For food adventures. For exploration. You hope you take your chances while you still have the time.
Table Tennis remains a hobby you look forwards to, but more sporty pursuits could await.
You have no clues as of now, but solo travel is a thought on the forefront of your mind. If you arrange your timetable well and take advantage of holiday breaks, this year promises to be an exciting one.
10. What are the 1-3 most important core values or principles that form my personal culture? Will these change in 2020?
Commitment, curiosity and honesty. Three traits which have governed how I interact with others and how I approach situations.
I hope these core values remain strong in this new year. But for one, much of my curiosity has been rewarded. So beyond the open and eager mind of curiosity, I hope to be more of a driver and a go-getter. I want to not only be curious, but to chase my curiosities.
2019 was the year I dared to dream. You dreamt and reached heights never before seen.
2020 is going to be my turning point. This is the year I flourish.