The 2021 Ride: How introspection went for me!🎉

2021 was that life defining year for me, also the last few days of 2021 was very hectic for me mentally, I felt very drained (More like the give up drained). I am also not putting this down because every other person is doing it but because I sincerely need to evaluate how far I’ve come and to reflect on what 2021 had in store for me.

Early 2021, the field of tech I wanted to stick with was not something I had an idea of. I was just doing data science because that’s the field I started my tech career with the previous year. I started having a clear picture of who I want to be in the future, where I want to be career wise, finally chose a career path, dropped most of my previous priorities, learnt/learning self love and care in the year 2021.

I’m definitely not starting with the good/normal side of the year but with what I regard as the downside of the year.

Downs of the year.
1. ‌Unrealistic / Not good enough goals: Looking back I feel if I had clear and concise goals at the beginning of the year I might have done better or if I had set my goals for each quarter instead of for the whole year, things might have been better but tbvh, when 2021 started I didn’t even know where I wanted to be career wise or had not even mentally chosen a career path.

2.‌Learnt a lot of concepts without practicing/working on projects. Steven once told me I’m a lazy person but I casted and binded the laziness mentally. Well, the year has come to an end and I realized I let my lazy side have a part of my good side in the project aspect.

3.‌Grades dropped in school: I dropped from a 2nd class upper to a second lower. CGPA that I was trying to boost dropped keh😭😭.

4.‌Being a perfectionist: If you scroll through any of my jotters, you’d see my never ending plans/re-strategizing. I understand the importance of flexible goals but I over did this.

5.‌Struggled a lot mentally: The compound effect of all these hit me last quarter of the year and I could barely hold things down again. Had to break down multiple times and I couldn’t even do so much when the realization hit me because I was preparing for exams.

Milestones reached in 2021
1.‌I volunteered alot, I mean I, Mardiyyah Oduwole did quite a number of volunteer work in her local tech community. Ori mi Wu(My head is swelling up).

2.‌I made thousands of Naira from my tech skills. 😂I’m not so comfortable about the last gig I worked on because I had to rush the last part of it in order to ensure that it doesn’t affect my exams preparation (my being a perfectionist is at play here).

3.‌I chose a career path mentally, physically, spiritually.
‌Even without a formal job title, I can proudly call myself a data scientist. I don’t think I ever called myself one in 2020 😂

4.‌I learnt to identify situations/relationships/contracts that are not more serving me. I remember how the first work breakup stressed me mentally. Thank God Steven adviced me on how to be smart about the break up and my parents supported me my decision with their full chest.

5.‌I encouraged quite a number of people to get into tech.Helped quite a number with resources/career map without any community commitment.People even see me as a worthy individual to ask for data science mentorship from(I do not take this for granted)

6.‌I started reading research papers, read about 5 in total this year.Quite little but I’m so happy about this as I didn’t see ML research as a field I was interested in early last year.

7.‌I’m mentally postponing my marriage age, when this is sealed, I would share the age I moved it too.

8.‌Landed my first internship, though it was an unpaid internship. I’m grateful for the work experience it gives my CV. The internship came in through one of the communities I belong to.

9.‌I Joined MLCollective, I’m still sluggish about taking up a role but I attended their meetings back to back before exam preparation took the best of me.

10.‌I Volunteered to help translate a dataset at Masakhane Group, I didn’t think about it before volunteering, I just volunteered but I’m glad I met up with the deadline and the task wasn’t too tasking. I feel like I’m already making a name for myself in the midst of these big people.

11.‌Currently have some project ideas to execute, been overly planning but I’m already learning the skills to start working on one😂.

12.I started reading self help books. If you know me, you’d know how much of a chore reading books is to me. Well, I’ve been able to do the mental pep talk and I read over 5 books this year. A real deal to me. I sincerely have plans of doing 10X 2022!

13. My CGPA moved back to a second class upper.Another great deal to me.😂

Take-out of this article:

  • Taking time to engage in introspection can help you gain a huge chunk of clarity.
  • Over planning will do you more harm than good. Just start!
  • There is a limit to the information you can retain without practicing what you learnt.
  • Reading books help you grow in ways you wouldn’t imagine.
  • Community service would never go out of style in the tech world.
  • Little wins are still wins. I had no “obvious” win this year but putting this down made me realize how far I’ve come, where I’m lagging and how to improve on myself.
  • Setting flexible and realistic goals are as important as setting goals. Your goals could be a short-term one or a long-term one, it doesn’t matter really as long as you follow through.
  • Let go of the perfectionist side of you! Extremely important🙂.

I’m very sure that if I had journaled all the milestones I achieved this year, I’d have more to write but this is everything I have by heart as regards how my year went and the role engaging in introspection played in my 2021 growth. I am sincerely grateful for how far I’ve come. Cheers to achieving more tangible things in 2022🎉🎉.




Python || Data Science || Machine Learning || ML Research Enthusiast

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Mardiyyah Oduwole

Mardiyyah Oduwole

Python || Data Science || Machine Learning || ML Research Enthusiast

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