• Abbie Tibbott

Reflections on 2020, a year like no other!

It's officially the last post of 2020. I started weekly blogging on this website just over a month ago, and I've really enjoyed writing in this informal style. Thank you to all of you who have read my work, I'm honestly surprised at the amount of engagement I've got so far considering I haven't really promoted it outside of my twitter. I wanted to get a bit more established on here before 2021 and I think I've achieved that goal for myself. Blogging is a useful exercise in writing for a wider audience and it's something I've been doing for various people over the years so I'm glad I've finally started doing it for me!

For me, 2020 has been focused on my MA in history, as well as preparing for the future. The work has been tough but really enagaging and I definitely have grown a lot as a researcher. I've found a niche part of history that I love to study and research, and hope to be able to do more with it next year. I also want to spend some time next year giving back. I'm still committed to widening participation as it's the reason I've had so many opportunities in the first place, so I'd love to pass on my knowledge and help other people access higher education.

The likelihood is that I will have to step away from history in the new year while I work on future plans, but I know I'll be back, hopefully in the near future. Even though I may take on some work outside of my discipline I hope to continue developing my knowledge recreationally and keep my ties with Reading, even at a distance. I have lost income this year as a result of the pandemic, but I have managed to work through it and make plans to become more financially secure in the coming year.

I'm glad that I have found something I am really passionate about, even if it came from an unlikely source. Changing my thesis topic during the summer as result of archive closures was far from ideal, but has turned me into a political historian which was a very unexpected outcome! I now know that I want to continue my research, so fingers crossed for next year.

There have been other challenges, such as navigating long distance friendships and relationships, as well as the pressures of working without a physical support network. I'm proud of all of my friends for managing through this crisis, and I hope we can all spend more time together next year. My homemade office has been a little makeshift but I've managed to stay motivated for the most part, even if I did have to drag a desk up a flight of stairs to make it happen! Daniel and I have had a wild ride, both coping with high intensity degrees, long-distance and uncertainty about when we will get to see eachother again. I'm proud of him for keeping going in Reading when I've not been around and I hope that next year we will have more time together.

For 2021, I'd love to find a way to keep studying the history I love, spread the message of widening participation to others and start the next chapter of my life which means hopefully moving out and living independently again. Depending on how life goes, I may even start my tutoring! I have a tab on this website dedicated to the topic, so keep an eye out for any updates.

I'll be back in the new year once I've submitted my thesis and had a few days to digest my freedom. I hope that your Christmas and New Year celebrations are safe and comfortable, and I'm looking forward to posting more content next year about my student experiences, life skills and current affairs.

Stay safe,