Year in [peer] Review

The WordPress year in review thingy, while somewhat intriguing, is (in my humble opinion) pretty boring. I mean, who really cares about pageviews on the internet? Am I rite?

Amused Biden is amused.

Amused Biden is amused.

So taking a page from Megan’s post, and a page from the WordPress thingy, and a page from just about every other blogger on this green Earth, I give you: a review of all things 2012!

…from my perspective, of course. C’mon, it’s my blog and all.

“I work in computational biolo–” “Oh what lovely weather…”

Difficulties explaining what I do for a living aside, this was probably the most frustrating year of academia in recent memory, perhaps since the great oh-jeebus-everything-is-going-wrong year of 2004 (yes, that’s the technical term). I still accomplished a lot: fulfilled my TA requirement, knocked out my Ethics requirement, completed my journal club requirement, and mentored a grand total of 7 undergraduates on 4 separate projects over 3 distinct semesters.

But when push comes to shove, what I still don’t have is the one thing we academics absolutely need in order to push our careers forward: a publication.

Error bars, I has them.

Error bars, I has them.

I’m doing what I can to keep things moving, and at the risk of sounding cliché, we truly are the closest we’ve been since our BSEC 2011 publication at pushing another paper out.

We’re very close. Problem is, the spring semester is upon us, and my class schedule precludes any kind of significant time investment in research. The idea was to get as much research done in 2012 as possible so I could spend at least the first half of 2013 polishing off the last of my course requirements. So we’ll see.

In the meantime, there are loads–OODLES–of awesome, awesome projects in the wings once we finish this paper. One involves a collaborative effort with some friends of ours at Oak Ridge National Labs (may be working there for an 8-week period over the summer!). Another includes working with none other than my Dad and his department at UGA. And if I’m able to finish off all my remaining course requirements in 2013, I can spend all of 2014 working on my thesis.

One can dream, at least.

“Run run run run run run run run run run run run run–“

Soooooo check out these stats from my 2012 as a runner.

  • Races: 16
  • Distance: 1,062.19 miles
  • Time: 154 hours, 30 minutes, 20 seconds
  • Average speed: 6.9mph (roughly an 8:41/mi average pace)
  • Calories: 187,357
Great Race, Sept 2012.

Great Race, Sept 2012.

And that’s just what my Garmin GPS watch recorded.

Granted, it’s the first full year I’ve owned the watch; I purchased it late summer 2011. It would be great to have another full year of data to look at.

2012 was an excellent running year. Overall it was very productive, and there were some great events and PRs interspersed throughout: a smashing half-marathon PR, two 10k PRs (one of which was a 5k PR as well), and my first full marathon. October yielded the highest monthly mileage ever at 136.84, and that was with a full week off due to injury. Ragnar in September was the most epic relay I’ve ever participated in, and provided money isn’t an issue I’d love to do it again someday.

Awesome event, awesome people.

Awesome event, awesome people. Ragnar, Sept 2012.

2013 has already started with a bang: The Lady and I ran in a local race here in Athens on New Year’s day, and we both set PRs and won age group awards. We’ve also registered for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May, the Air Force Half Marathon in September, and we’re hoping to get into the Marine Corps Marathon in October for our second full.

My goals for 2013 are a sub-20 5k, a sub-40 10k, a sub-1:35 half marathon, and a sub-4 marathon. With friends like the Danimal and Keeley participating in some of the same races, The Lady and I are sure to enjoy this year of running at least as much as the last.

“This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest! It’s a quest for fun!”

In terms of amount of time spent traveling in 2012, it was certainly a (welcome) decrease from 2011; things got a little beyond insane that year. But we didn’t really experience a decrease in amount of travel money spent. With excursions such as Ragnar, Colorado, and Atlanta, our trips got a lot more expensive.

Us, after a long plane ride into Denver :P

Us, after a long plane ride into Denver 😛

The trip to Colorado was a wonderful family reunion–The Lady’s family, as a matter of fact. We also took a trip to Florida shortly thereafter, where two of my best friends from Georgia Tech were married.

So far, this year looks to be about the same amount of traveling as 2012, but I’m optimistic it can be done a little more cheaply. We are jetting around in January: one to Arizona (graciously paid for by others), and one to Cleveland (driving, so that’s a little cheaper). We’re also going to do the Air Force half marathon again, but we’ve driven that the last two years and have the logistics more or less down pat.

Wedding party on the beaches of Florida!

Wedding party on the beaches of Florida!

The one wild card is the summer: there’s a strong possibility I’ll be working out of state for about two months, but that’s still not official and subject to some pretty stringent travel requirements in order to make it official. Namely: I need to be able to go easily and cheaply to and from Pittsburgh (or allow The Lady to make the same trip) as often as humanly possible, as we’ll be working diligently on getting the details of the wedding nailed down. So provided my potential employer is ok with footing the cost for 3-4 trips each month (which first discussions have indicated they are), then that will happen. That would mean quite a bit of travel, but not too much strain on the already-strained pocketbooks.

“Why couldn’t you have taken one day off?”

I think my main goal for 2013 should be the following: a healthier work/life balance. I know this is something everyone works on to some extent, but 2012 showed a big increase in stress levels with no particular reason for it.

This “resolution” doesn’t exactly follow the SMART paradigm particularly well, and I still have a lot of open tickets along those lines from almost two years ago. But I suppose that’s my challenge, then: I need to figure out exactly how to improve my work/life balance. And more than simply fixing symptoms, too. That’s my first task.

There’s a lot of cool stuff going on this year, and it’s poised to be as hectic as ever. I just need to be sure I’m ready for it so I can enjoy the ride, and not end up like this guy:


Happy 2013, everyone!



About Shannon Quinn

Oh hai!
This entry was posted in Academics, Graduate School, Holidays, lolcat, Real Life, Running, The Lady, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Year in [peer] Review

  1. That picture of me makes my inner child happy. Also, my inner child is on the outside.

    I will say say this, you are heartily embracing the spirit of 2013: Year of the Athlete. This year’s going to rock out and I’m looking forward to running more events with you and The Lady. 2013 is going to be AWESOME.

    • magsol says:

      2013 is going to be AWESOME.

      Hellz yeah!

      We got a lot of phenomenal pictures from Ragnar. I think all our inner children were on the outside during that epic 36-hour stretch.

      I’m looking forward to participating in the Year of the Athlete!

  2. Stealing that picture of us. YOINK.

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