2015 was a good year — it brought new blogging adventures, my graduation, and an unexpected twist at the end of the year (you’ll have to read to the end of the post to find out about that).
During the summer, I participated in the WordPress course Blogging 201, which gave me the boost I needed to refresh areas of my blog and plan for future posts.
I would have liked to post more often. My readership and reader engagement with the blog (i.e. via comments, follows and likes) increased during the two months when I posted my ‘Between the Pages’ series, with several themed posts about Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.
This blog series was very fun to write, but it was time-consuming as it necessitated research too and it ate up all my blogging time, leaving me with no time to write other posts.
After two months, I decided to put it on hold, but I enjoy writing shorter blog series, such as my A Very Literary Christmas posts which I published in the run-up to Christmas.
I read quite a few good books this year, including Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer and The Circle by Dave Eggers. And I went the movies as often as I could — I enjoy seeing movies on the big screen. In the summer, I blogged about the latest adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd (review), which I enjoyed so much that I saw it twice. The melodrama and beauty of Hardy’s novel is delicious to read, and this is an excellent on-screen version with exquisite music.
I enjoyed Suffragette in October — you can find my post, The “Suffragette” Controversy here. And I finally got round to seeing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 in December, which was underwhelming.
Returning to my sometimes sporadic posting, I haven’t missed a month since I started blogging in June 2011, but during 2015 I didn’t manage to blog weekly. That’s mostly due to the fact that I graduated in the summer — the first half of the year was a whirl of writing papers, preparing for final exams, and studying as much as possible to achieve the outcome I wanted. Thankfully, I did — I graduated with First Class Honours (equivalent to a 4.0 GPA), and I wrote about it in Musings from a Soon-to-be Graduate.
Life took a wholly unexpected turn towards the end of the year, and it’s the first time I have written about it here on the blog. You see, I had planned to pursue a Master’s degree in linguistics and study part time while working. But after I began the course, doubts kept creeping in, chiefly about my area of research.
Linguistics is a vast field and my chosen sub-field (sociolinguistics) is equally vast — my research project, although perfectly acceptable, was on a topic that is rather tired. We know enough about it, and my research wouldn’t have contributed anything to the field other than in a very, very niche area.
I realized that when I research something, I’d prefer not to be an academic who writes papers on obscure subjects that are of interest to around 0.001% of the world’s population. I would rather do research that is relevant; for instance, merging the study of psychology with linguistics – there are exciting new avenues in that area.
So, ultimately, I made the difficult decision to put my Master’s on hold. I have blogged about my love for academia, and that hasn’t gone away, but this choice simply felt right.
One time a couple of months ago when I was driving to campus and all these doubts were swirling around me, I was listening to an interview with the poet, Mary Oliver, and her words made me feel a sense of peace about my choice. I wrote about it in Fortified by Poetry, and I created some graphics with the quotes that gave me nourishment.
It really is a cliche, isn’t it, that “when one door closes, another opens”? Life doesn’t always follow cliches, but in this case, mine has — a freelance job that I started in the summer has developed into a permanent editorial position, which I am enjoying very much. I’m working with a great team, and I get to apply my academic skills, such as proofreading, writing and editing.
When I look back at the start of the year, I wouldn’t have envisioned that I would withdraw from my MA and begin working, but I certainly wouldn’t change anything about it. I’m very happy, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring.
How was your year? Did you find yourself somewhere different (metaphorical or otherwise) at the end of 2015 compared to the beginning?
And what did you particularly enjoy reading on my blog in 2015? What would you like to see more of in 2016?
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year’s Eve!