Exit Ticket: Nine Important Lessons from 2021
By Emily Vella
2021 was a year like no other, filled with many highs and many lows. Many of us worked from home and watched numerous significant events unfold around the globe. Climate change, civil unrest, fluctuating economy, elections, and workers strikes headlined newspapers around the world. And of course the ongoing pandemic continued to effect our lives. 2021 left us with a lot to reflect upon, as PhD students, researchers, expats, and individuals. I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I learned in the last year that I hope to bring with me into 2022.
1. Always be communitating
More importantly, always try to communicate effectively. Over phone/video chat or email we lose important information, like body language, tone of voice, or facial expressions. It can be easy to misinterpret not only the words and meaning, but also the attitude. I’ve learned that while it may be considered ‘unprofessional’ by some, including infrequent emojis in emails to those that know me well (ex. my supervisors, close colleagues, etc.) can be really helpful in conveying my attitude/tone of voice, which helps limit misunderstandings.
2. You don't work in a vacuum
3. Go with the flow
· I’m the kind of person that loves lists and schedules and planning. I like to be prepared (sometimes over-prepared), to make a plan and stick to it. I like to know well in advance what work I’ll be doing and where I’ll be doing it. This past year was laced with uncertainty. I had to learn to be a lot more flexible and to adapt better to last minute changes. I still wouldn’t describe myself as a flexible person, but I’m much more so now than at the start of 2021.