2014: One for the books


As the sun sets on 2014, it takes with it easily the most action-packed year of my short life. I’ll spare you the gory details of in-depth retrospectives that I’m probably still too close to objectively give, and instead just provide a few targeted, enlightening points I picked up along the way.

Interviewed on both coasts and accepted a tenure-track faculty position.

Note to others embarking on the academic job hunt: if at all possible, spend more than 24 hours in the place you’re visiting, especially when it’s a 5-hour flight with a 3-hour time difference.

Had a first-author paper accepted to Science Translational Medicine for publication; have another under review with Scientific Reports.

The former represents a two-year effort that finally came to fruition this year. It’s tough to argue that the struggle wasn’t worth it when it’s being published in a Science journal.

Successfully defended my dissertation (PDF version submitted to the Pitt archives was 181 pages).

The writing of the dissertation was probably one of the easiest parts of the whole process. That isn’t to say writing it was easy, just the easiest part. Thanks to a multitude of talented editors–including my wife–as well as fully-written papers encompassing 2/3 of my thesis aims, a simple cut-and-paste operation alone gave me half the final page count. Horrifyingly large quantities of stress, anxiety, and caffeine yielded the remainder.

Ran 1,605.32 miles, burning 273,427 calories and shattering every mileage record–weekly (55.4), monthly (201.61), and yearly.

2014 wasn’t my fastest year on record. But it was easily my most active, which is a particular point of pride given how busy the year was. I dropped to under 210lbs, a weight I haven’t seen since high school, and even managed to return my bench press to 245lbs for a few weeks, a milestone not seen since college.

Set a PR in the half marathon twice (from 1:43:51 to 1:41:38, and two months later to 1:41:07).

My 1:43:51 PR from March of 2012 stood for a long time. I was on pace in that year’s Air Force half to break it barely 6 months later, but the half was accidentally diverted at mile 4 onto the full marathon course for nearly a mile. The 2013 doldrums then set in as stress levels skyrocketed and my redline-running performance suffered. Then came the 2014 Just A Short Run, and I broke my two-year old PR at the same event by over 2 minutes. Barely 2 months later, I shaved off another 30 seconds at Pittsburgh, notching yet another PR to my favorite distance and also redeeming a 2-year old breakdown in my last appearance at Pittsburgh.

Left my 6-year home in Pittsburgh, PA and moved into a beautiful house in Athens, GA.

Coinciding with the very first point, I was offered and accepted a position as a tenure-track faculty at the University of Georgia, effective 2015. Thus, time in Pittsburgh was given a concrete expiration date. The Lady beautifully organized the logistics behind the move, and in the middle of December we executed, saying goodbye to the city we came to love.

We purchased our first car.

Practically our first order of business upon our arrival in Athens was the purchase of a new car, the very first we truly owned: a 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid. We named her Sam, and it stuck.

Driving Sam for the first time!

Driving Sam for the first time!

Married my best friend and life partner.

Easily the biggest and greatest event of 2014, and most likely the rest of my life. The Lady and I dated nearly 6 years before becoming engaged, and married exactly 7.5 years to the day after we started dating. She is my anchor, my inner peace, and my better half. I never imagined we’d end up in Athens for the foreseeable future, but there’s no one else I’d rather be with on this journey. Here’s to many more adventures together!

And that was all in 12 short months. What might the next 12 hold? I suppose we’ll just have to find out 🙂

Happy 2015, everyone!


Christmas morning run from the new house!

About Shannon Quinn

Oh hai!
This entry was posted in Academics, Exercise, Graduate School, Holidays, i ken make living plz and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2014: One for the books

  1. Pingback: Greetings from Athens, GA | Where are the pancakes?

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