Fast away the old year passes…

…and suddenly campus is quiet.  The undergraduates have gone home for the Christmas break and the short days and grey weather discourage lingering in the Green Heart. There’s a feeling of winding down as staff and researchers breathe more easily now that the freneticism of the Autumn Term is over. What will you be doing over the Christmas break?


At this time of year (and occasionally others), I often talk about the value to your wellbeing and your research of taking a break, and I hope you will have some time away from your to-do lists over the next couple of weeks.  If you’re around Birmingham, please note the University is closed from the evening of Friday 20 December 2019 and will reopen on the morning of Thursday 2 January 2020, but some services (including the Main Library and Sport & Fitness) will be open during this period. For full details, see the Christmas on campus webpage, which includes a section specifically for international students spending their Christmas in Birmingham.

However, this year I want to ask you to take the opportunity to reflect on 2019.  And specifically, I would like you to reflect on how far you’ve come and the things you have achieved in that time.

  • What can you add to a 2019 “done list“?
  • What has brought you joy this year?
  • What problems have you solved?  What challenges have you overcome?
  • Which skills are you better at now than you were 12 months ago?
  • How much writing have you done?
  • How have you looked after your wellbeing?
  • What would you say are your particular strengths at this time?

Self-reflection is a vitally important skill in becoming an independent researcher (or for effective development in any field!).  Looking back on your achievements is an excellent way to identify things that work well for you and you can build on for continued success.  Not to mention the sense of achievement and self-confidence boost!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas break and that we’ll see you again refreshed in the New Year.

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