Nina Di Cara

I'm a PhD student at the University of Bristol, who likes data science, social work and volunteering.

New (Academic) Year Resolutions 2019/20

15 Sep 2019 » Blog

Something about the start of the new academic year makes me reflect, far more than the start of an actual new year. Crispy September mornings make me think about starting the new school year with fresh textbooks, new curriculums, seating plans and the feelings of being that little bit older and mature than you were this time last year. It also tends to be when I start to think about my aims for the next year, what I want to achieve and how I’m going to do it. Given that, I thought I’d do a post to mark the start of the ‘new year’ and the start of my second year of my PhD with the things I’ve been thinking about achieving this year…

  • Complete and write-up a machine learning model. I’ve spent so much time this year learning about machine learning and how to use Python to code models, but haven’t actually got round to completing a full project where I’ve built a model from scratch and written up the results!

  • Talk to the public about my research. I’m considering signing up to something like Soapbox Science where I could do a talk for members of the public about my research. The idea of it terrifies me, which is how I know it’s probably a good aspiration to have!

  • Learn how to build an R package I’ve always wondered how people make R packages, and seen it as the peak of R expertise. I’d really love how to make a basic package, possibly based on one of my more code heavy projects this year. Some resources that have been recommended include this guide by Friedrich Leisch and this R manual.

  • Do a data science apprenticeship There’s a few really cool organisations I’m really interested applying to for an apprenticeship in data science this year. I may even apply again to Data Science for Social Good after getting to the final stages this year.

  • Make version control part of my work I’ve learned a lot about version control this year, how to use git in the command line and integrating it with GitHub. However, it still takes a bit of thinking about and sometimes I forget to commit things which I probably should have done. This year, it would be nice if I could solidify git as part of my working practices and make it a more natural part of my coding work!

So, those are some of the things I would love to achieve this year that have been whizzing round my head, along with trying to restrain my urges to buy stacks of new stationary at the beginning of the academic year (I already have approximately 20 unfinished notebooks and two diaries for the next year - who needs two?? I have a problem).