Dear Joyful,

The year is 2050 and I am celebrating my 57th birthday. As I sit back to take in the day I have had, a funny thought popped into the mind that reminded me of 2019. It was in 2019 when I was doing my 2nd/3rd year of PhD and also a blogger for SAYAS. I remember specifically the post I wrote in May, this post was one of the most personal ones I had shared. This was the month after celebrating my 26th birthday, in that blog I discussed my fear of growing up because I was not quite sure what to expect in the future. My 26th birthday was when I realized that I had to start making grown-up decisions that would have a huge impact on my life. So how did things turn out you may ask, well you have to continue reading to find out.

After that thought popped into my mind, I couldn’t help but start reflecting on the year 2019 in general. 2019 was a year of stepping out of my comfort zone for me. It all started towards the end of 2018 when I came across a twitter post on blogging for SAYAS, at the time, I was not so familiar with what SAYAS did but I liked the idea of blogging about anything I felt like sharing with others. When I submitted my entry blog for the call, I had no idea that I would be one of the entrants that would be selected. I should, however, say that after spending the year blogging for SAYAS, I fell in love with #scicomm and even got motivated to start my own blogging page.

A lot of things have changed the past 31 years but unfortunately for me, I am still the queen of procrastination. This was something I discussed in February when I wrote my blog post the day before the deadline after being so excited to have been selected to be a blogger. I really would have loved to have left this trait in 2019 but I am now starting to believe that it is in my DNA to procrastinate.

The good news, however, is that I didn’t just take all my negative habits with me but I did pick up a couple of positive habits. I was brave enough to start my own Maths and Physics centre back at home to help high school students who need help. The centre also allows for all learners from all grades to come to do their homework and get help preparing for tests and exams. This was something I started thinking a lot about after writing my October blog on the importance of giving back to our communities.

It is also heart-warming to see how the female demographic has increased in the science fields over the years. Looking back to the August and November blog, one doesn’t have to search high and low to fit in now, every field has sufficient females for us to create a support system amongst our respective fields but it’s always great to have that inter-disciplinary relationship, that’s when new ideas are created.

Going back to my fear of growing up, I am happy to say to 2019 Joyful that you did end up in academia and now have to deal with things like your relationship with your students like you did when you discussed it in March. Unfortunately for you, the tables have turned and now you don’t ask if you are a good or bad postgraduate student but you now ask if you are a good or bad supervisor. The nice thing about this is that you definitely remember to check up on your postgraduate students. The letter you wrote to postgraduate students in June has definitely kept a lot of your students going. You make it a point to share it with them every four months because you understand the struggle that comes with being a postgraduate student.

Just a little message to 26-year-old me from 57-year-old me: “Stop overthinking everything. Focus on finishing your PhD and everything else will fall into place. You do however need to work on your procrastination habits, took you the longest time to start blogging on your own since there was no pressure. You are a better writer than you give yourself credit for.”

I hope the rest of the 2019 blogging team are doing great. To our wonderful editor Roula Inglesi-Lotz, thank you for all your hard work throughout 2019. Your inputs and suggestions made my posts better and in turn, made me a better writer. To the rest of the bloggers Kimberleigh Tommy, Munira Hoosain and Sesetu Nyeleka, it was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to do this with you all and share our blogging journeys together.

Oh and one last thing, remember to smile and laugh  as often as possible. Keeps the wrinkles away!!!

Yours sincerely, 
Joyful

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