In August of this year, I had my one year anniversary as a tenure-track assistant professor. I was so busy, I didn’t realize it until September. What have I accomplished in the last year?

I’ve taken on a M.S. student and seen her through completion of a project. (In 8 months… that was insane, but we did it!)

I’ve been awarded internal funds for an undergraduate project, and am working with an undergraduate who has literally zero experience in our field.

I’ve attended 5 conferences, and spoken at each of them.

I’ve published one conference paper, and have two papers that will be out soon.

I’ve written for and been awarded one large ARS project and two smaller FPL projects.

I wrote an NSF proposal that got rejected, but had excellent information from the reviewers.

I’ve participated in two outreach week-long programs in my department, each of which has seen participation from over 3000 middle-school students from around the state.

I’ve taken over the lab space of a retired faculty member and haven’t managed to ruin it.

I’ve taught one split-level course and one undergraduate course, and will be co-teaching a graduate level course in the spring.

Senior faculty seem to feel comfortable discussing projects and collaborations with me, and have invited me to sit in on meetings for their projects.

I’ve had the chance to develop relationships with multiple industry partners, several of whom have expressed interest in contracting my lab to carry out short-term projects for their businesses.

I’ve got one PhD student working now, one on the way in January, and a third that I’ll co-advise starting later in the spring. If I can get one M.S. student lined up, I’ll be set for the next three years.

Woah. I said all of that to say this. I’ve never been happier in my life. I love what I do more than anything I’ve ever done. I adore my department, the administration, senior faculty, students, and staff. I feel very looked-after and also independent, at the same time. I’m busy from the moment I wake up until I get home at night, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This year has allowed me to separate from some negative influences that had held on from my postdoctoral days, and has allowed me to build some new, positive, supportive relationships. I am excited about where my department is headed, and I hope in 20 years that I’m still here and still this happy.