‘New’ year, ‘new’ me… or is it!?

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long time since I last posted anything on here, almost two months! I feel like a lot has happened in these past couple of months but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like anything has really happened. Personally, it doesn’t even feel like a new year to me but more like we’re back to where we started from. I know I’m not making much sense but to be completely honest, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster this past couple of months and would like to get off of it asap lol! Anyways, for today’s blog post, what I have for everyone is a quick recap of my life since November.

Overall, November was quite the epitome of productivity and fun for me (Yes, we’re starting strong!) and things went a bit downhill from there but that’s okay, that’s life. At the beginning of November, I finally made my debut in the world of conference posters at my first in-person conference in a while (Thanks COVID!) – the GAC-MAC annual meeting. I must admit, even though I was a bit skeptical attending an in-person conference again after not being able to for so long (and also, because I’d started to get a bit comfortable with the idea of pre-recorded talks), I’m glad that it was in-person. It definitely reminded me of a couple of very important aspects I was missing out on, networking with people being the first! And it was also quite nice, just being in the presence of other people who are not confined to a rectangle on my screen in a zoom meeting. There were some great talks and posters at the conference (NeishLab did an amazing job ofcourse!! :D), and I also received good feedback on mine. There were a couple of very interesting ideas brought up, which I’d love to look more into, to see if I can incorporate them in my research.

Right after the GAC-MAC, it was time for a Diwali celebration. Well, technically the festival was going on at the same time as the conference, but as a grad student, I take what I can get, and boy did I get invited to the best Diwali party one can imagine! So, one of my labmates invited me and a couple of other friends to her parents’ place to celebrate Diwali. Well, I say to celebrate Diwali, but all we did was stuff our faces with the most delicious, and authentic Gujarati food I’ve had since I moved here, all day long haha! (Well, technically, it’s pretty much what I used to do back home as well, not being a big fan of those noisy firecrackers) The food was so tasty, I’m still not over it 2 months later lol. Other than the delicious Gujarati food, the thing I’m very thankful for is how Jahnavi’s parents made me feel at home, even though they’d just met me, that I almost didn’t miss my family all that much! And, dad if you’re reading this, I found you a rival in making “hilarious” dad jokes haha! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another highlight of the month was my first annual committee review meeting with Catherine and Oz! Which if I say so myself, went really well ๐Ÿ˜€ . I really appreciate the comfortable environment both of them created to ease my nerves and just being given an opportunity to have an honest discussion about my progress at Western so far. It also helped a lot in shaping my new, near-future goals for my thesis so I’m counting that as a success!

On the extra-curricular side of my academic life, I’ve been quite busy with my work at the IGSIC. The workload was especially brutal near the end of the term with preparing for Western’s International Week celebration and co-hosting the much-needed Consent panel on rape culture and social scripts with other SOGS Commissioners. We also did a joint event with the SOGS Sustainability Committee, where we organized a nature walk and clean-up around the campus along the Thames River and Medway creek. I was quite pleasantly surprised to see the number of people who showed up on a Sunday morning! We found a lot more trash than I was anticipating, so I had mixed feelings about it. I was happy we were being helpful in keeping the campus clean but it was surprising to see that much trash (tons of beer bottles, kitchen pipes, and a portable AC unit!!?). I also made a couple of new friends who share the same interest in hiking as me.

While it’s just a thought at the moment and I definitely don’t want to bite more than I can chew, but I may run for the position of co-chair for IGSIC in the next elections! We’ve got some wonderful people on the committee and I have a lot of fun working with them. It just feels like a (daring but) correct step in the direction of me expanding my comfort zone in a social sense. So yeah, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do ahead of me ๐Ÿ™‚

While November was great and productive, sadly I can’t say the same for December. Most of the month went by with just me catching up with my TA work and the course paper for the Sudbury field course. And to top it off, things got a bit difficult in my personal life as well and it became abundantly clear that I was in a need of a break. Thankfully, the winter break was right around the corner and while I don’t think I’m completely back to my 100% yet, I’m definitely doing much better now after taking those few days off. The me from few years ago wouldn’t have recognized the triggers for my emotional exhaustion or just simple burnout. But I’m glad that I’ve matured enough to not only notice these things but have also learned to take a pause for the sake of my mental health.

As I would hate to end this blog on a sad/negative note, let’s move on to the few things that have given me joy these past couple of weeks. For one, I submitted my first ever LPSC abstract this week! ๐Ÿ˜€ While I’m not attending the conference in person this year, I’m very excited to present my work at one of the biggest lunar science conferences. I will talk about my research in a separate blog soon as I’m still working on some parts of what I want to present. Another good thing that happened was that I finally caved in and bought myself an iPad pro haha! As some of you might know, it’s an investment for a side-hustle that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The plan is to create some digital artwork that I can actually monetize in the future. So currently, in my free time, I’m just exploring the platform and just trying to get more comfortable with digital art in general. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon enough, and then it could be a separate blog for the future where I share my experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

Until next time!

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