2018 by the numbers

2018 was my first full year of post grad school employment, and was an action packed whirlwind that included the most non-field work related travel I’ve ever done for a job, which I simultaneously loved and really took a tole on my physical and mental health, something I’ve focused on more in the later half of the year. I learned that I can, and am quite good at wrangling big teams into writing big grant applications, that it is ok to say no sometimes, and that Black Rails are real. I didn’t accomplish many of the things I set out last January, but I did learn how better disconnect from work at the end of the day, to celebrate failures, lean into rejections and how to leave my laptop behind and be present.

As much as my scientific training has taught me to make SMART goals, looking back over 2018 I see my successes in the places that I learned to adapt, grow, and be flexible, rather then the metrics I designed for myself a year ago. Here’s to learning to be resilient, finally feeling like I deserve a seat at the table, and to learning to be kind to myself.

Lists of things

States Visited - Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Oklahoma, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Arizona, Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan, Visited Washington for the first time!

(states still needed: Alaska, South Dakota)

Gave 8 invited seminars

Papers published - 2

Top moments


Mentoring two amazing undergraduates (Haley and Carson) on their independent research projects.

Continued to learn to say ‘No’

Saw a Snail Kite! (My 600th life bird!)

Meeting so many amazing twitter friends as I traveled

Continuing to grow a great community of friends here in Mississippi

Lead my first big grant submission

Read 99 books (or more accurately started 99 books, some of which I choose not to finish)

Low Points

Struggling with major imposter syndrome, depression and burn out

Failing to have my entire 2019 employment situation figured out by the end of 2018

Losing my step father in law to cancer

Lots of manuscript rejections (SO MANY)

Lots of grant rejections (SO MANY)

The constant battle with rats in my house for the later half of 2018

Written on December 31, 2018