Looking back at 2015

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).


A piece of wisdom from Thomas Hardy

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.

MG grad 3

I graduated!

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.

Laptop blog photo

An ideal set-up for studying, but my plans changed…

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 Poetryand I created some graphics with the quotes that gave me nourishment.

Mary Oliver ~ Siyan Ren

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!


A photo I snapped while out walking during the holidays

19 thoughts on “Looking back at 2015

  1. I really need to get on with my blog post languishing in the drafts folder but in the meantime, Happy New Year! This year has been quite a journey but then again, I think I say that pretty much every year. Still, we’re now entering the phase of life where big transitions are happening (and big decisions have to be made as well). I’m so grateful and happy we’ve kept up a correspondence outside of just the blogosphere and I’m excited to see what the new year brings both of us. Wishing you and your family all the best! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Lillian! I find that the longer I leave a draft, the less likely I am to return to it. It’s one of my bad blogging habits! I have at least 20 posts in my draft folder, in varying states of disarray.

      Another bad habit I have is thinking of post ideas or sentences that grow into ideas, but that’s usually when I don’t have a pen (or my laptop) handy and I forget them. Must stop doing that! :p

      Yes, plenty of big transitions… But life is calm (at the moment — you never know what’s around the next corner) and that’s good.

      I value our friendship a lot. 🙂 I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve had a good year, and I’m proud of you for making a hard decision concerning your master’s program. It looks like you are on the right path, but we just don’t know what that is quite yet! I can’t wait to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on a great year Grace! I remember looking at graduate school as I was finishing undergrad and finally coming to the conclusion that I needed a break. So I hope and pray for a productive 2016 year and looking forward to the continuing journey of blogging with you! Jim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim. Yes, I didn’t realize that I needed a break, but it turns out that I did. A combination of factors led to my decision, and that was one of them.

      I still enjoy reading about linguistics and keeping up with developments in the field, but it’s nice to be able to do so without any pressure or stress. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, your graduation photo is absolutely stunning. Stunning! Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

    Isn’t is amazing how God works in our lives. We have plans, and then He takes us down a different path that makes us even happier. Of course, there are doubts, fears, sadness, etc. along the way, but there is also joy and excitement in the new things we try and do. I think you made a smart decision to put off you MA for now. I really love the idea of psychology + linguistics and whatever you write about it one day, I will definitely 100% want to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you so much! That’s really sweet of you to say. 🙂 It was a lovely day, slightly marred by my shoes though. They pinched my feet and I got five blisters…ouch!

      Yes, I’m very blessed by all that has happened during the past year. It makes me smile. 🙂

      I’m actually planning a blog post about how children learn to talk, which I’ll post later in the month. It’s fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just stating the truth! Sorry about the blisters, though! Oh shoes… sometimes you are so beautiful but so painful haha.

        I think it’s wonderful that you can look back on this past year and smile. That is a very, very good thing!

        Can’t wait for the post on how children learn to talk! I took a linguistics class my senior year at Penn State and we learned a little bit about that topic, but it was an intro course so we only scratched the surface. I’m excited to read your insights 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a year! I never would have guessed just over a year ago that I’d be where I am in work, which is where my energies have really gone in 2015. It’s paid off, but it’s been a massive job. I’m hoping for more balance in 2016 so I can get back into some things (like writing and blogging…oops…) that are just for me and for pleasure. And travelling! That needs to happen badly.

    It sounds like the pause button was a really good and healthy decision, and I’m glad it’s working out so well and you’re getting wonderful opportunities. Cheers to more windows opening for you this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear that you had a productive 2015. Congratulations!

      Balance sounds like an excellent goal for 2016 — I look forward to reading your blog posts. 🙂 And travelling is something that I’m longing to do as well… I’m hoping to visit Madrid this year.

      Thank you. I’m glad everything has turned out well. 🙂


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