A Year in Reflection – 2014

Celebrating New Year’s Day

Another year has come and gone, just as I was getting used to writing ’14 on my work instead of ’13. To all those still regularly reading these posts – despite their infrequent nature – and those who happened to stumble across this post on their internet travels, I wish you a happy new year! Just as quickly as it came, 2014 is a thing of the past, and seeing as this blog has become a lot more of a space for me to throw words onto a screen, reflecting on the past year is probably not a bad idea.

2014 was an interesting year for me on many levels. There were ups and downs, moments of celebration and moments of despair, but overall, I have my health, there have been no deaths in the family and miraculously I still have friends, so I would say 2014 was a good year for me personally. I have found that looking back on the past day, week or year firstly prevents the time flying away and secondly helps you to appreciate the good times more. One day, everything just came together, making for a really good day, and I would have almost missed it if someone hadn’t asked me how my day had gone.

Academically, 2014 was a success. I got the AS grades I wanted and when I think about it, I am amazed at just how much work I put into getting those grades. I have a past paper progress tracker, and the grand total of past papers I did came to 193 across maths, physics and chemistry. I probably didn’t need to do that many, but I remember somehow that I just picked up a paper and did it almost instinctively, which is in one way worrying that our schooling system encourages preparation in this way, but in another way, fascinating knowing what you can do when you put your mind to it – and have a lot depending on it!

CanSat, Young Enterprise, my Magna Steyr internship and my time at National Grid were all extremely valuable and enjoyable experiences. The CanSat launch campaign was probably the last overnight school trip I will ever go on at St Paul’s School, but the memories I have from that experience are unforgettable: staying up until 1am desperately getting our buggy to drive, the gale force winds we battled through to get to the launch site and the sheer amount of kit we had. YE, Magna and National Grid all gave me a taste of entrepreneurship and industry and taught me lessons that I hope I will not forget.

Although I am happy to have done these things, I do think that they are in some way too focussed on me, in the way that very little I have done this year was to the benefit of other people or striving towards some greater good. I wrote on my US University application essays that I want to use the skills I develop in engineering – or dare I say, another field I decide to specialise in – to do something that is in some way beneficial to others or helps tackle a global issue. I think living in the UK, I have become a bit dispassionate about global issues. I am intellectually aware of them, but I have never had to go through a challenge like facing gender inequality or police brutality before. I do feel like I have to challenge myself a bit more in the coming year to do something wildly different and out of my comfort zone, and I think that is what I am going to do. It’s not a very concrete plan, but it is a start! I am, currently saving up some money to embark on a trip this summer. My family enjoy relaxing holidays, and while I like the occasional beach trip, I think that holidays are the best time to go and experience something new. I am thinking about either going interlining or a taking a trip to southeast Asia. Let’s see.

There are a lot of things I haven’t mentioned: universities, extra curriculars, trips, and so on, but there is no need to make this post any longer than it already is, and you can rest assured that I will be posting about universities as soon as I know where I am going!

On a personal level, 2014 was also a year of a lot of firsts and new experiences for me. I do not think that the internet should be privy to these bits of knowledge, but nevertheless, I can conclude that 2014 was really a special year, one that will not be soon forgotten.

I ended last year’s New Year post with a farewell to 2013 – “2013 was a monumental year” – and wished well for an even better 2014. I am not sure if I can say that one was better than the other. They were different, but in any case, 2014 was also a truly monumental year. 2015 will bring new challenges, new ways to develop myself and new experiences. 2015 is the year I end secondary education and enter university, the year I leave home for the first time and the year I effectively hit a big restart button. Of course, there will be people I will cherish and stay close to, and they know who they are, and to them and everyone who has made my year as monumental as it has been, thank you!

So into 2015, we look forward, and it will be a big one. 2015, give me your worst.


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