Some 2020 Highlights

PhD and Stuff
3 min readDec 30, 2020

Well. Bon bah, voilà voilà…

2020 was quite the year, wasn’t it? This year has brought, reinforced, and highlighted, more challenges than ever for most, if not all, of us. I am grateful that during this difficult year almost all my loved ones and I have been safe and healthy, and have not been too dramatically impacted by any of the most tragic events of 2020. Still, it was a tough one, with its extra load of uncertainty, rejections, anxiety, tears, heartbreaks, and overall astonishingly poor mental and physical health, as for everybody. I personally have a strong tendency to let the negative overshadow the positive sides of things, which is extremely easy this year, but also very counterproductive.

Instead, for this round-up of my year, I’m going to try and focus on the bright side of 2020 (if you’re wondering, yes I do love the Monty Python), and its highlights.

The thing I’m most proud of:

I (somehow?) got a PhD (with no corrections) after 3years, 8months, a lockdown write-up, and a viva in my living room. (Which means one more woman with “Dr” in front of her name, terrible news for Mr Epstein) Honestly, the thing I’m the most proud of is that I did it, I wrote the thesis I wanted to write, about the research I wanted to do, in spite of all the obstacles (and chronic misery). PhDone.

Best thing I’ve learned:

It seems I really can write in English.

How to pronounce “archipelago”. And also that “albeit” is not pronounced like “albatross”, which is disappointing.

How to propagate many, many, MANY houseplants.

My not being able to go home for Christmas is not a valid enough reason for my parents not to put my shoes and presents under the tree.

Best not personal moments:

Kamala Harris for the win!

Argentina legalises abortion.

All your successes (inc Maggi getting a new job, Shereen passing her viva, Rachael getting a grant).

Best book(s):

Best fiction for “I’m not crying you’re crying” & “But… why…???” — A little life, Hanya Yanagihara

Best non-fiction for “Made it to the last chapter without a tear but sobbed for the whole epilogue” — When breath becomes air, Paul Kalanithi (actually found this book next to the bins on my way to the shops, second-hand things for the win!)

Best non-fiction for “How to be anti-racist, Science edition” — How to argue with a racist, Adam Rutherford

Best non-fiction for “This is why I’m doing this job” — Paul en Mongolie (Paul in Mongolia), Domitille Cauet

Best non-fiction for “Adventure”, “Power team” & “Hen fashion” — Le monde selon Guirec et Monique (The world according to Guirec and Monique), Guirec Soudée

Best non-fiction for “Art” and “Too relatable” — Men to avoid in art and life, Nicole Tersigni

Special thanks to Goodreads for making sure I don’t forget the books I’ve read

Best series:

The Queen’s Gambit for the exquisite aesthetic.

Unorthodox for the slap in the face that it is.

Killing Eve for the thrill.

Rick & Morty and Ghosts for the laughs.

(Kaamelott for ever and ever)

Best films:

Mignonnes (Cuties), Maïmouna Doucouré — because people LOVE to have and express opinions about stuff they have not even seen (facepalm + eyeroll), and this film is actually so powerful.

Howl’s moving castle, Hayao Miyazaki — because I’ve re-watched all Miyazaki’s work after handing in, and I have a thing for odd houses.

Emma, Autumn de Wilde — because the aesthetic is *chef’s kiss* (if it’s good enough for Bernadette Banner, then it’s good enough for me)

Things from 2020 I want to continue in 2021:

Explain to people that vaccines are safe (and definitely DO NOT cause autism)

Learn more about video editing and graphic design, because SciCom

Learn more about R and coding, because OpenScience

Do more OpenScience, because OpenScience

Add moooore eco-friendly and socially sustainable lifestyle changes (I’m looking at you, fast-fashion, Amazon and plastic packaging)

2020, it wasn’t nice, but all its challenges won’t be wasted.

Ready for 2021?





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