What a year! Review of 2023

Highlights of what happened in 2023

By Millie O. Symns in Reflections

December 31, 2023

We have made it to the end of 2023!

I know it is cliche to say, “How are we at the end of the year already?” But honestly, how are we at the end of the year already?! 🙃

This year has been a rocky one for me. Some deep lows sometimes felt like it would be that way forever. Additionally, the state of the current world politics, the tragedies of slavery and genocide we are witnessing while still needing to go about our lives as if they are not happening, and the future U.S. presidential election next year all weigh on me. But there were also so many highs that felt great to be in and reminisce about.

Overall this year

This year, I got to travel a lot for the first time in this “post-COVID” time (although we are very much having a real surge in cases right now) for conferences, weddings, reunions, and vacations. This year was also the year of a couple of firsts for me, from climbing a waterfall to giving a couple of talks at meetups and conferences.

I have been incredibly excited about all that I have been learning this year out of the non-profit or education space. I have been actively working towards expanding my network outside those sectors and looking for diverse online and in-person data communities. I was learning more about analytics engineering, which is closer to what I do now in my day-to-day, and taking in the new developments in AI and R community spaces.

I presented at a local NYC DBT meetup

A picture of a TV screen with my picture and name and another speaker for the dbt local meetup.

It was the first DBT meetup I would attend in person, and a peer kindly persuaded (and convinced me) to present for the special International Women’s Day meetup.

I gave a talk at posit::conf(2023)

A screenshot of the title of my talk on the posit::conf app.

I love this conference so much, and it was my first time getting to give a talk. It was amazing! I was unnecessarily stressed, but once I started giving the talk, it all went smoothly ;) I want to do it again (although I don’t know what I would talk about).

I attended Coalesce (the dbt conference)

A group photo at a table outside on a roof deck with myself and 8 other people smiling.

That was my first time in San Diego and at Coalesce in person. I learned so much about what other companies in the tech start-up space are doing and got to meet many awe-inspiring people.

I joined some women in data community groups (online and IRL)

A group photo at a table in an office building with myself and 20 other women grouped together smiling with nametags on our shirts.

I enjoy participating in data communities, especially groups that foster communities of women as leaders in their domains. I am looking forward to the future meetups and perhaps some future talks I will lead ;)

And some quick personal life highlights:

  • I climbed a waterfall! ⛰️
  • I got to perform modern dance/contemporary on a stage for the first time since college. 💃
  • I magically got tickets perfect tickets for the Renaissance Tour and saw Beyoncé live!! 🤩
  • Also, got to see Janelle Monáe on tour! 🤩
  • I saw so many good friends IRL that I haven’t seen in a long time (so happy and proud of my friends; they are doing incredible things with their lives) 🥰
  • Made some new friends 😄
  • Traveled solo internationally for the first time without anyone to meet (wild!) 🌎

What’s for next year?

I am not sure what is in store for next year, but here are some ideas that resonate with me at the moment:

  • Reformat my site for quarto (it is time 😅)
  • Keep blogging at least once quarterly
  • Give another conference talk
  • Create a digital product (something in me wants to create a resource for others; we shall see what happens)
  • Co-host a meetup event

See you next year

And with that, I hope you all have enjoyed this year and are looking forward to the year ahead.

Stay well and fabulous!! ☺️

Posted on:
December 31, 2023
3 minute read, 638 words
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