Designer by day, Advocate by night.

Writings

2018 in Review

 

Sometimes life moves so fast you forget everything that’s happened in one year, and as we’ve learned from Hamilton it’s important to be satisfied with your forward movement. Lest you end up in a duel with Aaron Burr and lose. (That was the point of it right). Despite everything going on politically, 2018 was a wonderful year.

I never had formal goals that I wrote down, but overall I wanted to continue my career momentum while maintaining my relationship. Soft goals included learning more about Web Accessibility and getting myself out there.

Notable things I did in 2018

  • Completed the ADA25 Advancing Leadership Program.

  • Spoke about Accessibility & Design at several places.

  • Joined the Executive board of Changing Worlds.

  • Competed in CLLAW (Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers) as Han Rolo. Oh yeah, it’s a thing.

  • Worked towards my Master’s Degree.

  • Attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

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Debut of Han Rolo

Won crowd favorite!

One of my main goals coming to Chicago back in 2017 was to get involved. The community here for those with disabilities is very well established, and that’s something I never experienced before. Through the leadership program, and other networking events I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. People who want to help change the world for good. I admire a lot of people in Chicago for their ability to get things done.

Being nice to yourself

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my partner, it’s that self care isn’t just sitting on the couch and working. Self care means actually taking a break, and enjoying the moment. For almost my entire life I’ve operated on what we call a Boom Bust Cycle. I’d go non-stop. Stay up until 1am, go to work for 8 hours, go to class. If I didn’t have class I’d be out at meetups, or other adventurous things. Weekends were spent at hockey tournaments, or other out of town events. I’d get everything done, and then crash hard. Either a whole day sleeping, or just a really cranky week. Then began the cycle of feeling guilty about the time wasted. I put all this pressure on myself.

Spring of last year it became really unsustainable. Even dropping down to half time at school while still working full time, I was boom, bust, boom, bust. I felt like it was my fault I couldn’t handle this anymore. (if I can’t make it in a big city, then it’s my fault right? Especially when I saw other people doing more).

Thanks for my partner (and a therapist) I’m starting to learn how to deal with that, and setting myself with realistic expectations. It was okay if I couldn’t get all those 4 things done in one day because there’s only so much time. Prioritizing time for your partner as well. Jay and I got to see Joshua Tree National Park, Houston Space Center, and meet an Astronaut! We went camping, and other various fun city events. This past fall semester of school was 100% percent better once I learned how to properly take a break, and not be so mentally hard on myself.

Mental health is important kids, take care of yourself.

Grow my network

In 2018, I tried hard to work on my network and making connections with those I came in contact with in the city. I suppose it’s a little bit of an agenda, but also people are just super interesting. Everyone has a passion and unique perspective on things. Whether it’s disability rights, design thinking, the best taco place in Chicago, or just what movie you should see next. Plus, having friends is cool right?

Sharing Knowledge

Due to the nature of my life experience… I tend to know a lot about my flavor of disability, and in 2018 I realized others wanted to know my perspective. Throughout the year I was incredibly honored to share this perspective with other designers and professionals. I gave a Lunch & Learn at IDEO, spoke at the Accessibility Camp in Chicago and connected with some really cool people from Toronto, hosted a panel of Accessibility Professionals at my school, and consulted with a few places about their digital accessibility! (Thanks Chicago Architecture Association and The Field Museum). It’s honestly still taken me a while to feel qualified to speak about this, but I’m working on it…

Overall, I count myself lucky for the friends I’ve made this year, and hope 2019 is just as awesome. Oh also, as of January 5th I’ve taken a new job as UI/UX consultant at SPR Consulting. I’m pretty stoked about this change as well.

Looking at you 2019

Now that I have my first yearly review on record let’s set some goals.

  • Finish my Master’s Program.

  • Start up my Podcast Idea. More to come later.

  • Beef up my UI/UX Skills

  • Give some more talks, maybe a conference or two.

  • Last, but not least. I REALLY want a dog…

 
Liz DavisYear Review