Where did 2017 even go? It’s such a cliche but every year seems to go quicker as you get older! Yesterday I found myself feeling very reflective about the year and I just wanted to write about them and what I hope 2018 will bring!This time last year I was stressing about my imminent essays and finishing my Masters and this year I feel a lot happier with myself professionally and obviously academically. 2017 definitely taught me to not take anyone or anything for granted as things just have a habit of slipping through your fingers – particularly time. You never realise how precious time is until you have run out of it. There were definitely times in the last year where I wasted days at a time. It was through a mixture of things like overthinking many situations, being too stressed or anxious to work on my uni assignments or to go out and socialise and sometimes it was because I was so tired, I would end up wasting a whole day because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else.I remember writing last year that I hoped or wished to finish my MA degree with a distinction. I didn’t reach this goal but upon reflection I am pleased and proud with my marks and what I achieved. An MA is no picnic. It’s stressful and tiring and ends up taking over your life. It can become quite unhealthy actually. The worst thing I did was to compare myself to others. I re-read my dissertation last week and I thought to myself, actually, you wrote a really good, interesting and unique piece of work. Just because you didn’t get a distinction for it, doesn’t mean it’s crap! I got a good mark and as it’s so subjective, I have to believe in it and all the work and research I put in. I worked bloody hard on that and I shouldn’t let the fact that I didn’t get 70 take anything away from it.My results are one of the reasons that I don’t like to set myself ‘goals’ as such as I think the pressure you put yourself under becomes too much of a burden and you end up failing in something that would usually be attainable. Last October I left a job I enjoyed to try and pursue something I am passionate about and have always wanted to do. Now it is past Christmas, writing is something I am going to focus on – but I’m not going to state that I WILL become a journalist or a writer as that decision is ultimately out of my hands. I know the best thing I can do for myself and my future is to carry on doing exactly what I am – reading and writing as much as I can.I have my lazy days – sure I do. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t, but I can honestly say that this is the first time going into a new year that I’m not full of dread and tiredness. I feel energized and excited about my future. I know I’m the only one who can change it – I can’t rely on someone else to do it for me. I am quite confident behind a screen, writing blog post after blog post, but the biggest thing I need to do for myself and career is to carry that confidence and believe in myself a bit more. I really need to stop being so negative and down on myself as it can become quite unhealthy. And no, that’s a ‘resolution’, it’s just something I should have done a long time ago. I know that I’m good at my job, I know I’m reasonably intelligent and I also know that when I put my mind to it, I’m the most determined, tenacious and stubborn person in England. I just need that fire lit in my belly to go out and grab 2018 by the balls. I turn 30 in August and I will be damned if I haven’t at least tried to achieve my dreams by then.So 2017 was a good year for me. I learned that a career in academia is not for me. Doing a Masters was the best decision of my life so far – I met some truly wonderful and fabulous people who I will always remember. Doing a job or anything else for any reason other than self-fulfillment is definitely not worth it. And even though I’m nearly 30, I still turn into the biggest kid at Christmas!I for one am excited and scared at what this year may bring, but I’m hoping to brush away all the negative thoughts I have and just go for it! And even if I don’t fully believe, I will just have to bullshit with confidence! Apparently, if you do this, cover your arse and hold your hands up when you’re wrong, you can’t go far wrong in life!Here’s to 2018, where I will inevitably drink too much gin, prosecco and champagne and of course, over-indulge in food. If I don’t do this, I’m obviously doing it wrong!