Today, exactly one year has passed since I defended my PhD thesis. For the past 12 months, almost everything has gone by at blinding speed. Here’s my reflection on the first year of my postdoc life.
There is a lot to mention about online teaching for the academic year 2020–21. One particular aspect was that virtual teaching highlighted various difficulties some students were experiencing, such as loneliness and anxiety about participating in the virtual classroom and exam settings. I explored many ways to improve classroom activities to be more open and engaging for students. I had many positive and enjoyable experiences with students, as well as some struggles. Helping students who struggle to grasp a particular concept/idea through a step-by-step guide is definitely one of my most satisfying experiences. As much as I felt grateful for such invaluable time with them, I also felt the need to improve my teaching methods for a deeper level of learning for my students.
One of the happiest days of the year was when I finally met my PhD supervisor face to face for the first time in a year and a half. Initially, we had planned to meet up outside and take a long walk together around a lake. But it rained that day, so we decided to go to a cafeteria and have a lovely chat over herbal tea. Conversations with her made me remember how much I liked the way she commended my work, replied to my emails, always listened quietly and carefully, and encouraged me a lot. Now I wish to be like her every time I have a tutorial with my students. I was astonished when she told me that she had taken a diploma course to become a counsellor! Recently she has been building her counselling practice. I was so inspired to put good effort into anything I am interested in doing.
All’s well that ends well
I never expected that a change would come so quickly during the first year of postdoc. Probably I was very lucky.
In February, I submitted my application, had an interview, and received a job offer as a research associate in health research. This is the kind of research I have wanted to be involved in for a long time. Very excitedly, I took up the new role in June.
My new journey in teaching on a part-time basis starts in September. As my teaching responsibilities have eased, I have restored my energy and been more motivated to invest in and develop new skills.
For me, for now, these are the optimum outcomes and will also continue to change.