Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: Reflections and the year ahead

For me, 2014 was quite a busy year. In it, I bought a house, got a permanent contract, took on new responsibilities at work, completed two MOOCs, finally passed my driving test, and spent about half of the year trying not to vomit while speaking at numerous library related conferences and events (a delightful combination of both nerves and morning sickness).

It is that time again when many of us reflect on the preceding year and try to figure out if it worked out as intended and/or hoped. Looking back at both 2013 and 2012 I was primarily concerned about my job as I was on a temporary contract and was very much focused on gaining as much experience in the higher education sector as possible, as well as on keeping my options open. Towards the end of this year this was finally resolved so I can now start 2015 without that hanging over my head. It's much easier to think long term and strategically when there's more chance of being around to see the outcomes.

As it is practically impossible to buy a house in London unless you are a Russian oligarch, of which I'm not, and because  I wanted a garden for my cats and for growing my own vegetables, I had moved out of London at the beginning of the year. This, as suspected, impacted heavily on my attendance at library events and on my ability to help organise these as part of my volunteering activities on various committees.  This led to my stepping  down from the organising group of LIKE in May and, more recently, as web editor for CILIP's ARLG London and South East Committee in November.

As I found myself with more free time, I put my efforts into completing MOOCs in both Social Psychology and in Creative Writing. One was a Coursera programme and the other was from FutureLearn. I enjoyed them both thoroughly and got a lot out of them despite them being very different from each other, not just in terms of content, but in teaching style, assessment, and format too.

I was also fortunate to be able to beg, borrow, and win my way to quite a few conferences, including LILAC, the M25 and Info Lit Group's Information Literacy Conference, the Perfect Information Conference, the ARLG Conference and Internet Librarian International, many of which the organisers let me present at. Additionally, I was extremely flattered to be asked to do a Member's Interview for SLA Europe and to present a talk on preparing Sixth form students for University for the North Thames Librarians' Group. These have all been great opportunities to meet new people, practise presenting in different scenarios and reflect on the work I do.

Conference freebies made it so much easier to focus on writing this year.

One of the best things I did in 2014 was to find out more about coaching. I took part in a pre-course workshop and read up on the topic and, while I wasn't able to take part in the full course as it clashed with other commitments, I found it very useful in both my personal and work life. One of the people I met who was able to do the course used me as a guinea-pig for her own studies and I found this quite enlightening too.

Ultimately, apart from the usual hiccoughs life throws to keep you on your toes, I'm relatively happy with how 2014 went. I focused much more on things both professionally and personally that I wanted to achieve and for the most part have been successful in doing so.

For 2015...

  • I hope to hear back from CILIP soon to find out whether I have successfully revalidated and intend to submit my record of continual professional development again at the end of next academic year too 
  • I will be on maternity leave for a little while and this will bring its own challenges both personally and professionally, any tips would be greatly appreciated!
At the moment, apart from the usual finding more time for reading and writing, getting back into running, yoga, self-sufficient, healthy (ish) lifestyle goals that I normally set myself at this time of year I haven't really made any specific resolutions yet. This will most likely change come spring time when I find it easier to do this but, for now, I'm keeping my thoughts and options open and just hoping for a happy 2015. I hope you have a good one too.