2016 – The Year of Change… Kinda

2016 has been a strange year, it has gone by very quickly, and has been full of change.

At the start of 2016 I set a small number of goals, while I only completely achieved two of them I feel I made progress towards all of them:

  • Get a stable job (this may involve leaving academia)
    • The first half the year saw more of the casual work and weeks without income that I had experienced in 2015
    • However, by the end of 2016 I have a full time job and it is in academia! While I continue to look for further opportunities it has been good in the second half the year to have some stability in life.
  • Continue learning German
    • During the first half of the year I continued well along this goal, however, by the end of the year any practice has fallen by the wayside.
  • Travel and/or move to Europe or Singapore
    • I spent a month travelling around Europe in February and tried for a job in Germany but was unsuccessful.
  • Read 30 books
    • I completed 27 books, which is fewer than the previous two years, however, after moving house I have a shorter commute to work which is where I do the majority of my reading. Below are some of the books I read this year.

Every month had its highlights:  Continue reading “2016 – The Year of Change… Kinda”

Goals for 2016

Many of these goals are a continuation of goals from previous years

  • Get a stable job (this may involve leaving academia)
  • Continue learning German
  • Read 30 books
  • Travel and/or move to Europe or Singapore

More goals may be added during the year

2015 – The Year of Challenges and Opportunities

(Note: this was posted in February but backdated to December).

At the end of my 2014 goal review I wrote:

“Bring on new challenges and opportunities in 2015.”

Challenging would be a word that aptly sums up my 2015. From holding none to multiple jobs, changing churches, and teaching hundreds of students, 2015 presented plenty of challenges and also plenty of opportunities.

At the start of the year I set some goals which I subsequently completely forgot about, but looking back now I achieved four out of five of them. They were:

  • Get a stable job
    • Work life in 2015 was anything but stable, I went for months at a time without work or pay and then at other times I was holding five contracts at a time. Despite these ups and downs I was presented with the opportunity to lecture a whole course of my own. This was a great personal development opportunity coming less than two years after completing my PhD.
  • Continue learning German
    • This goal ebbed and flowed, but in the later part of the year I completed around 90 days of continuous practice on Duolingo.com
  • Learn python
    • I completed multiple Coursera courses on python and had to crash course myself through it to work on a Baxter robot in the middle of the year.
  • Go to Europe
    • I went in February on a whim after finding myself out of work.
  • Read 20 books
    • I read 33! (Below are some of the covers as shown by goodreads.com)

Some of the books read in 2015
Some of the books read in 2015

Continue reading “2015 – The Year of Challenges and Opportunities”

Goals for 2015

  • Get a stable job (variants of this goal have been ongoing for three years)
  • Continue learning German
  • Learn python
  • Go to Europe
  • Read 20 books

2014 – The Year of Growth

Another year comes to an end. This year has been different to previous years, in particular, my first year properly working in a full time job. During this year I have achieved many of the goals I set myself in January:

  • Graduate and get a real job
    • My thesis was passed in May and I graduated in November.
    • In February I was offered a five month position at UNSW which was then extended through to the end of the year.
  • Continue Learning German – and go back to Germany.
    • I did well with the German in the middle of the year, but in the later months I have done none.
    • I still have a massive desire to return to Germany.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • Fourth year in a row that this hasn’t happened. But I did go skiing in the Snowy Mountains.
  • Publish a journal article – or two.
    • I published two conference papers, still got to get those journal articles done.
  • Read at least ten books – including the six paperbacks I currently have unread.
    • I have read 36 books! But have now amassed 14 more to be read. In May I decided to start reading on the bus in the morning rather than reading Facebook and Twitter on my phone.
  • Buy a VF Commodore – I’ve wanted a Holden since I was in my teens.
    • Still a pipe-dream
  • Keep this blog up to date.
    • I blogged fewer times than any previous year, so I avoided the problem.

The year has had many highlights: Continue reading “2014 – The Year of Growth”

PhD Graduation Photos

Two weeks ago I graduated with a PhD from the University of New South Wales.

The formal photos have finally arrived, and I’m pretty happy with them, plus some of the other photos taken on my own camera.

 

And I’ve just discovered that I have removed my BSc graduation photos from 2008 at some point. So here are four of the best of those photos.

Minor Blog Updates

Over the past week I’ve made some minor changes to the blog.

These are:

  • Brought a fourth domain which points to this site, bradheap.nz, the other domain names are: brad.net.nz, brad.geek.nz and bradheap.id.au
  • Changed the display of galleries inside posts
  • Made some minor CSS changes to fonts and sizes
  • Updated the research page
  • Skimmed over all 600+ blog posts from the past nine years and fixing any backward compatibility problems – mainly in the display of galleries and content summaries.
  • Noted that I am blogging so much less than I used to. The combined total of all posts so far this year is fewer than the number of posts I previously did in a month.

PhD Examination

On Thursday I was officially notified that I had passed my thesis examination and been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy – PhD in Computer Science.

I still have to make very minor changes to the printed final copy, but the examination version was 165 pages, 43,451 words and took 3 years, 9 months, 13 days to complete.

Now the question is what do I want to do next in my life?

Goals for 2014

In no particular, but some sort of order:

  • Graduate and get a real job – I’ve submitted the thesis, now just waiting on the marks.
  • Continue Learning German – and go back to Germany.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko – it has to be achieved some day soon.
  • Publish a journal article – or two.
  • Read at least ten books – including the six paperbacks I currently have unread.
  • Buy a VF Commodore – I’ve wanted a Holden since I was in my teens.
  • Keep this blog up to date – In the last few months I’ve been about three months behind on posts.

2013 – The Year of Adventure

2013 has been great. It’s been a year of fantastic fun, growth and personal achievement.

At the start of 2013 I laid out some goals for the year, they were:

  • Complete my PhD
    • Achieved!
    • I submitted on November 20.
  • Get a real job
    • Not completely achieved, I’m freelancing at the moment.
  • Learn German
    • I did far better at this than in 2012. I am still very much a beginner, but I am learning.
    • Duolingo has been great for this.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • Once again this goal was elusive.
  • Publish a paper and a journal article
    • I published two papers.
  • Go on a holiday for at least a week without internet access
    • I didn’t end up away for a whole week without internet, but there were a few weekends of digital silence.

An additional personal achievement was reading 12 books over the year – four histories, three science, three theology, and two novels.

There are also a number of highlights from throughout the year: Continue reading “2013 – The Year of Adventure”