Lessons Learnt in 2018

Wow, what a year 2018 has been! It has been filled with ups and downs as well as lots of defining moments.

Both on a professional and a personal level, 2018 has been one of my favourite years to date. After a rough start, the latter end of the year has been a period of my life so far that I will forever be grateful for – I know that sounds cheesy, but it really will be.

I grew a lot this year in my personal life, but it was also the year that I became a lot happier in both myself and my professional life.

Lots of great things happened here on my blog, including the launch of Leading Women in Marine Science. Without a doubt this series is something I am most proud of and I am so grateful for all of the women who have submitted their interviews to be involved. After a brief hiatus, Leading Women in Marine Science will be back from next week with TWO interviews posted weekly.

Many other cool things happened in 2018, including my first print published article in Project Calm Magazine, becoming a monthly contributor to New Nature Magazine and working with loads of awesome eco-friendly brands to help you live a more ethical lifestyle.

I also travelled to South Africa!! I haven’t shut up about this since I came back and I am so excited to be spending a few months in Gansbaai in 2019 studying human interactions with great whites.

Even the past few weeks have been exciting, completing an internship with the Science Media Centre and travelling to Florida. It seems crazy to me that I graduated with a Natural Sciences BSc (Hons) degree this year too – and now I’m one step closer to my dream, studying MSc Marine Environmental Management.

All-in-all it’s be a pretty awesome year, and I have learnt so much along the way too.

Here’s my five lessons from 2018 that I will be taking with me into the new year…

1. Do What Makes You Happy

This is something I’ve always known, but never really acted on until summer this year and guess what?

I am so much happier for it.

During my undergrad degree I gave into what the societal norms were for people my age at university, but I was never truly happy during that experience.

It also massively affected my mental health – in my first year I had periods where I didn’t even leave my room for a long time.

I was the shell of who I was prior to university and I am so relieved to say that that girl has returned since I’ve started doing stuff that makes me happy.

Previously I cared what people thought about every little thing that I did. It’s strange for me to write that now because the complete opposite is true, but that’s how it was. I had a pretty confident exterior, but inside I was incredibly anxious all the time, at everything and the smallest comment from anyone would make my heart sink and my chest pound.

Now? I do not give a f**k and I’ve never looked back.

2. You Are Who You Are Surrounded By

This is another phrase my grandma threw around when I was younger and I always replied like “yeah yeah yeah, sure”. But like always, grandma was right.

Events in my personal life this year resulted in an upheaval of the people who are close to me, and like always, at the time I thought it was the end of the world. However, it has ended up being the best thing for me on so many levels.

Being surrounded by likeminded people is so important for both your own personal development and your career development – I think anyway. Not only am I happier, but I am also consistently more motivated – I stick to my plans, more of my goals are achieved and my previous mental health problems are non-existent.

It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally breathe again.

3. Take A Step Back And Think

Maybe it was the crippling anxiety I experienced, but I always used to say whatever I had to in the heat of the moment to make a situation just go away. This inevitably created more problems later. Sound familiar?

Since then, I’ve realised that nobody is going to be mad at you if you don’t say things rashly that you haven’t thought about, just so you can give them an answer.

It may be hard to stop word vomit pouring from your mouth, but take a deep breath, and give yourself a few moments to think about something before you respond.

Be rational and it will save you problems later.

4. We Are Stronger Together

For so long I thought I could do everything by myself. Naturally, I’m very independent so thought I could complete all of my goals on my own. How wrong I was.

The saying “it takes a village” is so true. Yes, if you want to achieve your goals then you need to work hard yourself, but without collaborating with others, sharing ideas and working through problems together, it can be hard to reach your goals.

There are so many people I am thankful for within different spheres of my life.

From my friends, parents and lecturers who supported and guided me through my undergraduate degree, and now my masters degree, to online friends I’ve made like Kate On Conservation and James Common who have been both sources of inspiration and collaboration, I would undoubtedly not be where I am today without them.

Just like global movements, such as the 2018 spur in going #plasticfree, teamwork makes the dream work.

5. Give Yourself Time To Heal

Sometimes, you aren’t always ready to take on the world.

Events will happen in your life that will mean you need to look after number one – yourself.

It’s hard to focus on yourself as a priority when there are a million other entities that require your attention.

It feels like if you don’t spend every second of your life dedicated to your career, someone will replace you pretty rapidly.

It’s important to not beat yourself up and to take time out for yourself – whether that’s reading a book, meditating, going to the gym, or whatever else floats your boat.

No experience is ever truly a failure – there is something to be learnt from everything that life throws at you.

Just remember that to tackle everything at your best, you need time to reflect and heal.

Life will run you down sometimes, and that’s okay, it’s the nature of life.

There you have it! Five lessons that I learnt in 2018 that I will most definitely be incorporating into 2019 for a happier, healthier and more mindful me.

Hannah x