personal

At the start of last year I did a review of how 2014 had gone for me, and some goals for 2015. Let’s see how those went …

Writing

2015 was yet another year when I didn’t do much writing outside of the bare minimum required for university. I do want to try to improve on this, because starting in the autumn I’ll be doing my dissertation and the more practice I can get the better. The problem I seem to face is lack of things to write about — most of the things I’d like to write about are said better by other people elsewhere. But perhaps writing for the sake of writing is what’s needed.

Reading

Over the last couple of years I’ve managed to read a lot more, both for university and for pleasure, and it almost seems unnecessary now to have this as a goal. I read 42 books this year, not counting the handful that I’m currently in the middle of, and in particular read some pretty interesting political theory, including Marx’s Capital, which had been a goal of mine for a few years. I still have a problem of procrastinating unproductively online (hi, Twitter) when I could read instead, and I should probably learn to just give up on a book instead of forcing myself to read one that I’m not enjoying.

University

My problem here, as with the year before, has been time management: I had two essays submitted late in 2014–15, because I was working on them right up to the last minute, and so far in 2015–16 I’ve only barely managed to be more organized. It’s something I really need to address in the coming term, otherwise the dissertation is going to be disastrous. That’s now close enough that I’m starting to think about topics, and the one that comes to mind is something relating to eighteenth and nineteenth century imperialism, the Atlantic slave trade, and the development of capitalism and the industrial revolution — quite broad, I know, but interconnected. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a more specific question well in advance. The length required is a little daunting, since I’ve never written anything longer than two or three thousand words, but perhaps if I look at it as four or five shorter, closely interconnected essays, it’s more approachable.

I’m also starting to think about what I want to do next. My initial plan had been to train as a teacher

Travel

One of my goals for 2015 was to travel more, which has been pretty successful — during the course of the year I’ve set foot in six different countries, five of which were new to me (the sixth being Finland). In April we spent a week in Nice, with a day trip to Monaco (it still counts as an extra country even if you can walk across it in an hour or so), then in May we had a long weekend in Luxembourg and a day trip to Trier in Germany. Finland for a week in July, then a weekend in Dublin in October, and Luxembourg again in November for a wedding. We also spent the August bank holiday weekend in the northeast, visiting Alnwick (which was pretty cool). It’d be good to visit at least a few more countries this year — Sweden would be interesting. I’d also like to travel more in the UK, perhaps Scotland and Wales.

Health & Fitness

I had a good start at running in 2014–15 but in the second half of the year I’ve been lax, and I didn’t run at all between July and November. On the plus side, I did manage to run along the bay and through the old town in Nice (which was lovely), around Töölönlahti in Helsinki (also lovely), and through the valley in Luxembourg (less lovely, but it was November and raining). Goals for 2016: don’t allow myself to make excuses, and run outside London whenever I have the opportunity.

I didn’t cycle at all in 2015. Cycling to work makes reading a little inconvenient. I don’t regret it, but my bike might.

Life in general

I’m trying to be more positive. Being grumpy and sarcastic about stuff all the time is hard work, and that’s one habit I’d like to lose.

The Future

Things seem to be going in the right direction. More reading, more travelling, more (and better) studying. Goals should be measurable, I suppose, so I think a target of a 2:1 average for this year of university and a visit to at least one or two new countries, as well as keeping up the 36-book goodreads challenge that I managed this year.