The end of another year means it’s time for another annual tradition- my top 10 list. Writing this list is one of my favourite parts of every end-of-year. It gives me time to reflect, to remember, and to be grateful for all of the amazing things that have happened. And so many amazing things happened this year.
Became an aunt
In September, my nephew Declan was born, and I became an aunt for the first time. I’m no longer the youngest! He is so cute and adorable, and is obviously going to be the focus of my entire family for the foreseeable future. In November, both my parents and I flew to Fort McMurray to visit my brother and sister-in-law and meet the little one. He slept a lot, cried a lot, and didn’t do a whole lot else, but we love him anyway.
Started my master’s degree
After years (and years and years) of thinking about doing a master’s degree, looking into different programs, and changing my mind about what I wanted, I finally found a program that seemed right up my alley. In July, I started my Master of Education in Educational Technology at UVic, and I have loved every minute of it- even the parts I’ve hated (see: finishing assignments). It’s a cohort-based program that has both fully online courses and multi-modal courses, so it has fit well within my existing life, and the content and discussions have been so relevant to the work that I do every day. Can you tell I’m excited even writing about it?
Launched the pre-arrival program
I realize this was also an item on last year’s top 10, and that might be confusing to some. But 2019 was the year that we launch the full program (not just half) to 4500+ incoming students. I spent most of the spring working with some amazing folks in our Technology Integrated Learning (TIL) department to create some incredible activities, and then spent the summer working with one of our amazing summer students to create an incredible weekly Instagram story series. Everything went smoothly, and the uptake and feedback has been incredibly positive.
Went on a Rocky Mountains road trip
I feel like there’s some version of this on every year’s list, but I found a way to hang out in the Rocky Mountains again this year, and as per usual, it was both breathtaking and energizing. Instead of returning straight to Victoria after a conference in Houston, I got off the plane in Calgary and took a little one-day road trip to Kelowna, where I spent five days. I’ve never driven that far in my life, but with a full line-up of podcasts, I actually didn’t mind at all. I stopped several times along the way to go on short hikes to find canyons, lakes, and waterfalls, and went on even more hikes in Kelowna, climbing mountains, crossing trestles and chasing sunsets. Nature is magic.
Presented at multiple conferences
2019 feels like the year of the conference, and the year of presenting. Starting at the NODA Region I conference in Moscow, Idaho in April, and ending with the TopBC winter drive-in at BCIT in December, I went to four different conferences, and gave four different presentations. NODA Region I got to learn about creating engaging training sessions via an outcome-based process, the folks at the TopBC summer drive-in in Squamish and the NODA national conference in Houston learned about our online pre-arrival program and our process for creating content, and the folks at the TopBC winter drive-in got to learn about accessibility best practices. I love sharing our work- especially when it’s being well-received!
Finished my 100 Things project
At the end of 2018, after watching a Tyler Oakley video, I decided to keep track of all of the things I did and accomplished, big and small, in 2019, with the goal of making sure there were 100 different things on the list. The purpose of this project was threefold: to get myself out of the house and doing things, to spur myself towards actually working on some of the personal goals I had, and to recognize the importance of both the big things and the little things. I spent a large portion of my winter break putting together a slideshow of my 100 things. This project ended up being far more meaningful than I ever could have imagined. >> Read my reflection on the project
There’s a large part of me that hates talking about this, but 2019 was a bit of an award-winning year. At the NODA Region I conference, we won the Innovation Program award for our Pre-Arrival Program, and I also won the Outstanding New OTR Professional Award. Then, at the NODA national conference, we won the Outstanding Non-Print Media or Emerging Technology award for the Academic Success video we created for our Pre-Arrival Program. Even though I think awards programs can be problematic (NODA’s awards program is especially problematic), it’s still an honour to receive these awards, and supports my mission of pushing the world of online orientation forward.
Learned so many things
2019 was a year overflowing with learning, which made my learner/input/intellection heart happy. Not only did I start my master’s degree, but I finished a certificate in multimedia storytelling and content marketing in April. I learned a ton in the process of developing the online pre-arrival program. And for what I think is the first time every, I actually finished a MOOC! I then went on to finish a second MOOC, which means I now know more about gender & sexuality and accessibility & inclusion than ever before.
Re-fell in love with skating
I feel like this really got started in 2018, but I think I am falling more and more in love with skating every day. I’ve always loved being on the ice, and that hasn’t changed, but I’ve also been paying a whole lot more attention to the world of senior-level competitive figure skating. Both my Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as my Youtube recommendations, are now filled with skating-related content. I spend more time than I should admit watching competitions online (and rewatching Nathan Chen’s Grand Prix Final long program….). And I spend all my money and travel time taking in competitions and ice shows in-person. The Skate Canada International was in Kelowna this year, and you bet I was there watching Piper and Paul take gold, Yuzu win his first Skate Canada gold in four attempts, and Trusova land quad after quad. I also watched Tessa and Scott skate together for the last time at the Rock the Rink tour stop in Vancouver, and you bet I cried through the whole thing.
This isn’t as tangible a thing as everything else on this list, but I think it might be one of the most important. There were so many times this fall where I just stopped and thought: I love my life. So many moments where I felt happy, content, and just so grateful for life and everything it’s brought me this year. This is extra important to me because the fall wasn’t always easy, and was at times stressful, overwhelming, frustrating and more. But even through all those negative feelings, I still felt an overarching sense of contentment. And that, in my opinion, is really the goal of this whole thing called life.
Featured image by Nicole Crozier