End of Year Reflections and Future Goals

Hello Everyone!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope that everyone reading this enjoyed a great well-deserved break from either school or work. I’ve also been taking a vacation from both for the time being – I ended up taking this week off from work, and school is now over too. I’ve been spending the time catching up with my friends and family, and also relaxing from the constant pressure of both work and school being piled up all the time.

With that being said, let’s dive into what happened in 2019.

End of Year Reflections

2019 for me was a huge year of change. Honestly, it was all over the place as soon as the year started. If you had told me that I would be where I was in the beginning of 2019, I wouldn’t have believed you for sure. It was the year where I transitioned from being a student full-time to working full-time, and also the year in which my future became clearer for me, at least for the time being.

I started off the year not knowing where I would end up working. I had a couple of constructive conversations and informal interviews with some federal government managers before I left my Co-op job at Environment and Climate Change Canada at the end of 2018, but everything was up in the air for the time being. The Winter term was spent finishing up my last term as an undergraduate student, which went very smoothly. I was also applying to graduate programs during that time and reconnecting with the managers I had talked to previously. I’ve written another post about this in more detail, but pretty much what happened was that I had two offers given to be in February, but they were both rescinded at the end of April right before I was supposed to start at one of the places.

The Spring for me was a time of turmoil, because I was at a point where everything in the future seemed very uncertain. Things were changing up every day, and I had no clue what lied in store for me. The only thing that was certain was my incoming Master’s program at Carleton University, and that was about it. I was working a summer contract job at the time while also trying to get a permanent position, and I was in a new city with few friends. During that time, I spent my weekends mostly staying indoors and applying to jobs, as well as just thinking about the possibilities that lied in store for me.

Then came Fall, where everything changed again. I had landed a permanent job, and I was beginning to see some clarity in my life. I found a great place to rent 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, and for the first time ever in five years, planned to stay at some place for more than a year. My Master’s program had started, and I also connected with colleagues who were working in Ottawa, which helped me make new friends and got me going out more (unfortunately right when the weather started getting colder haha). One thing that I really value in life is stability and clarity as I feel that it means I have more control over what happens to me, and finally I felt that in Fall term things were shaping up for the better.

Along with the certainty of my situation came with more free time to focus on other things. During that time, I also started picking up some hobbies that had died down while I was too busy at Waterloo. Firstly, I started going back to the gym; as a Carleton student, I am able to use their gym facilities for free and I took advantage of that. I began my old strength training routine up again and have been making some considerable progress! I also started cooking more at home. It helped that I could afford to live at a more expensive place, and thus didn’t need to share the kitchen with more than one other person, which made cooking much easier. Cooking more at home let me save up more money and also allowed me to count my calories better, which was important for my fitness goals.

All put together, I felt that 2019 ended off on a great note, but I did have to overcome a ton of hurdles to get to where I am now. Along with my perseverance, I was also dealt a hefty dose of luck. There were some great people in my life around this time that guided me and supported me, with the most notable ones being my professors at Waterloo who helped me advise me on my situation in Spring and who wrote my references for graduate school, as well as my former manager at the Clean Growth Hub, who offered me a summer contract and supported my transition into a permanent position at the same department. I’d also like to thank all the new friends I’ve made this year in Ottawa, as it allowed me to become comfortable with living in this new city.

Future Goals

For the first time ever, I’ll actually talk about some of my goals that are outside of just school and work. 2020 for me will likely be a year where I really start beginning to think about adulting life. I tend to be a pretty practical person, but as an undergrad I couldn’t really put some of these goals in motion as I didn’t have the time or stability in my life. But now that I do, there are a couple things I want to finish up this year.

The first goal I have for 2020 is to get my G2 Drivers License. I already have my G1 license, but I would want to at least be able to drive without anyone else accompanying me. I’ll likely be doing driving school in summer when the weather is better and take the test in late August or September. I don’t think I need a car a this time as I live so close to downtown and a car wouldn’t be a financially sound investment (ran some quick math and it would cost me about $400-500/month in unnecessary expenses), but it would be good to get the license so I am able to drive if ever needed for work or for travel.

The second goal is more long-term, but I’m planning to buy a house in Ottawa within 2 or so years. Right now, I’ve been saving up steadily for that and anticipate that by the time I am 25 or 26, I’ll be able to put down a hefty down payment for a nice townhouse along with being able to earn enough to finance the mortgage. I have a savings goal already in mind for this year and have been doing pretty well for it despite some heavy spending in Fall.

My third goal is to learn to cook more food! I’ve been cooking a lot of the same stuff recently, most prominently being pasta, but I would like to branch out more. Cooking has helped me eat healthier as well as save money from not eating out, and I want to continue expanding on this productive hobby.

Lastly, I’ll for sure continue my fitness routine, especially because I can take advantage of the free gym at Carleton while I’m still a Masters student.

Conclusion

I felt that despite so many changes in my life, 2019 passed by really fast for me as I was always trying to put out fires or focusing on my next steps in an ever-changing atmosphere. Last year around this time, I was just wrapping up my final Co-op term as a student, still uncertain about my future. Now I’m in a completely different spot with a clearer path ahead. Hopefully 2020 is the year to settle down and work on some of those goals I mentioned above, but I guess we’ll see as the year goes on.