Lately I've gotten a few Christmas cards from friends detailing the doings of the year 2006 and what all they've accomplished and where they've been and the like. Rather than spend a lot of money on postage, I've decided to just type on up here and then it will be assured of arriving pre-Christmas regardless of bad weather.
Where to begin...2006 was a year without anything I'd consider as huge milestones -- 28 doesn't seem like an age when anything extra special happens --, but did have a few noticeable steps of progress and/or change.
With regard to my schooling, I started the year with a brand new advisor, as my old one had just told me he'd be leaving the U to take a position at Columbia in NYC. Luckily, my new advisor is one of the head honchos at the place I'm doing my research and being able to drop his name in my emails asking for help comes in handy. I did a lot of preliminary data collection for my project and got IRB approval for my project from both the place I'm doing it, and from the U. I sat in on meeting with the Referring Physician IT Task Group, which basically meant I was getting up really early to sit in a 2 hour meeting and try to not fall asleep. I traveled to conferences in San Diego, Nashville, and Washington DC. I had my first official presentation (a poster on Academic Podcasting at Fall AMIA), actually started doing some programming (albeit not on the right module) and just this month completed the coursework requirements for my degree. So while most of those things felt like givens, things I expected to do without too much trouble, its still very nice to have them done and taken care of.
HIMSS in San Diego
NLM in Nashville
My poster at AMIA
Looking ahead to this next year, I really hope to get my project up and running, get my qualifying exams done with, and start working on my first paper, all within the first 4-6 months of the year.
Aside from school, I think that my responsibilities with my church callings were probably the second most time-consuming aspect of the year. I started the year as 1st counselor in the Elder's Quorum presidency of my singles ward, and then in May on the same day our presidency was released, I was sustained as the new Executive Secretary. Since then I've spent a lot of long hours at the church, especially on Sundays, but also a night or two during the week. Don't get me wrong I enjoy getting to know all the great people in our ward and being able to work closely with the bishopric has been very educational.
In July, we moved from the University down to a building in Murray that's much closer to our ward boundaries and in August we got a new bishop and a few weeks later our boundaries were expanded. As a result of the above (not counting the new bishop) our ward membership has grown about 50% in the last quarter and we are starting to test the limits of our building. Our Relief Society meets in the chapel and the Elders meet in the Relief Society room. If we continue to grow I would foresee a boundary change coming in the next 6 months or so, which will be sad because there are so many great people in our ward.
Aside from church and school, some highlights of the year included a family road trip (minus dad) to California, attending University of Utah football games, camping with friends, blogging (this is approximately my 88th post this year), and even some dating thrown in.
Camping in Spanish Fork Canyon - April 2006 (Before all the rain)
Utah's Red and White Scrimmage - April 2006
Logan Demolition Derby - May 2006
Family Trip to San Diego - June 2006
Barbecue at the Spruces - June 2006
Yes its true, my records indicate that I've been on 14 dates this year, and if you consider the fact that not one of them occurred during the months from June to August (not sure what happened there, too many BBQ parties, I guess) That's better than 1.5 per month. I know I'm stretching here, but I'd have to go back and compare to see if this year was any better than previous ones. I can say that there were a couple different girls that I was genuinely interested in that allowed me to take them out and while they've decided to not continue allowing me to take them out, its a good reminder that there are still other girls out there.
I don't have tons of pictures from the 2nd half of the year, but I just picked out my new camera yesterday (thanks mom and dad!) so hopefully 2007 will be accompanied with more images.
Merry Christmas everyone!