Sunday, 5 July 2015

Goals Checkup (April 17th - July 1st)

Hey. I'm heading to Seattle tomorrow so this is just a quick post. On April 17th this year, I made a list of goals and things to work on by July 1st. I don't know why I chose July 1st, it was pretty arbitrary, but since that time has passed let's have a look at how I did. 

Each goal has four parts. I declared the aim and plans in April,  work describes the work I actually did and results describes my degree of success. 

Aim #1 Get 5 As in summer exams

Wow, look at me being all good and focused on my academics. This one probably reassured the parents and teachers, not that they saw it

Plans      Make study plans, posters, notes
               Study 1+ hour per day
Work I didn't actually follow the study plans (except a bit in Chemistry), but I made absolutely beautiful notes, some of which you can see in this photo (I brought a lot of them into my exams to study with beforehand because they were amazingly helpful). On days I made posters, I did actually spent an hour or more at it - but I'm not sure if that counts as studying.

Results I wasn't entirely successful with this one, coming out with four As (2 A1s in Physics and Chemistry and 2 A2s in History and English) and one 84 (literally one percent away from an A, for people from other countries). I could easily have done better in French so yeah, I was close to this and I'm pretty happy.

Aim #2 Get lab placement, continue research

Plans Ask AJ, at conference, cold-email, St. James'
         Work on direction of project

Work Emails. Lots of 'em. 

Results I was actually successful here, thanks to the kindness of the nanomedicine group in St. James'. I do still need somewhere to pattern electrodes on graphene though, which is proving tricky. Nevertheless, it's lovely to feel welcome in a research group. You're all fab.

Aim #3 Blog 90% + of days until July 1st

Plans List days and post titles, batch
          Photo Friday, interviews, life events

Work I did do that list but didn't keep it up long. For the rest, I just did my best to blog every day. I'm going to go count it up now. tells me it was 76 days (jesus) so rounding up I get 8 days leeway. 

Results I just counted through my posts and assuming I counted correctly, I only missed 5 days in the last 76. Woot! I did it! I doubted myself but go me!

Aim #4 Mentor Luke and Jude (younger brothers, aged 8 and 11)

Plans Tuck in, ask Qs, hugs
          Teach Luke science and Jude chess

Work This is a really weird goal. I know you're not supposed to make family relationships into "work" or data points and I wasn't, I just wanted to make sure I prioritised them. I really didn't follow the letter of these plans but I think I did well and I'm very glad we're close.

Results My brothers and I are getting on well, they come to me with their thoughts and achievements, and it's awesome.

Aim #5 Improve at chess

Plans Go to chess 3x weekly
          Play siblings, read one chess book by July
Work I didn't really follow the plans I set out. I started two chess books but they're just so unpleasant to follow and the diagrams and notation are awful. I did quite like the two-move checkmate exercise book though, it's just a matter of finding time to focus on it. 

Results I have improved at chess. On 14th May I won my first tournament game, which was cool, and my rating has gone up a lot (though that doesn't count for too much since I started out at beginner this year). I haven't practised in a while.

Aim #6 Win school essay competitions

Plans Start essays early, get teacher feedback
          Multiple English essays, ask about French

Work Well, I did the essays (English and French). Since there was no French essay competition and it's difficult to win something that doesn't exist, I went to my teacher to establish a French writing competition and then submitted a poem. 

Results I won the Irish essay competition, for which they gave me a book in Irish. I would've much preferred the usual book voucher. Very tragically, I didn't win the English essay competition, after winning it three years straight. This makes me doubt myself a bit since at least one of those years no one else entered, and this year my friend entered and won, leaving me second. Would that have happened every other year if they had entered? I don't know. I sadly didn't win the English poem competition but my entry for that wasn't great. And the teachers made a beyond stupid rule for the French competition in the name of "fairness", where they picked the winning entry out of a hat. That's not a contest, that's a raffle. It would've been better to just disqualify me. 

Aim #7 Improve creativity

Plans 5 ideas per day 
          Link 5 opposites
          Read non-fiction books

Work I had a go at this but didn't really do it consistently. I think I read one or two non-fiction books and quite often come up with lists of ideas. I made up the opposites thing, where I would try to come up with totally different concepts e.g. "The Queen" and "a clown" and then try to connect them with something (I came up with "dignity" for that one) - but always found that the connection was actually just a line from one to another and that was what made them different. Am I making sense? 

Results Anyway, I do think I got more creative, at least for a time. My creativity depends on lots of things, like my stress levels. 


I think I did pretty well. I didn't unequivocally, 100% achieve a lot of these, but they gave me good direction. I'm not going to make my next set of goals for a while, so I can just enjoy my few weeks away which start tomorrow! 

I'll be up at 6 a.m. or before to get my flight. Bye and come back tomorrow for an account of Day 1 of my Seattle trip.

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