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My decade review [2011-2020]

Assalamualaikum,

Hope it’s not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope that this new year brings you more happy memories and successes in all that you do. 2020 has been a challenging year due to COVID-19, but hopefully, we can make the most out of 2021.

For my first post this year, I want to do a quick recap of the past decade. And, if you’re thinking why I’m doing a decade review and not a year review, it’s because you can watch my 20 in 2020 recap on my Youtube channel below!

And, yes, I’m in the group that says the new decade starts on 1st January 2021, and not 1st January 2020.

A decade is a long time to talk about everything, so here’s a recap of some of my biggest accomplishments from the last decade.

My decade review & biggest highlights from 2011 to 2020.

Lots of studying, of course.

I spent the majority of the past decade in education. In 2011, I sat and passed my SPM. This led to a one-year ADFP in INTEC, where I met my husband. Thanks to MARA, I was able to spend 4-years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA for my undergraduate degree. After a one-year gap year, I then pursued my MA at the University of Huddersfield, UK, and graduated in November 2019.

decade review - november 2019
November 2019 – somehow I survived my Master’s.

Will I continue my studies and pursue a doctorate degree in the future? Maybe. I’ve been thinking about pursuing an EdD (not a PhD!), but we’ll see how things go!

Lots of traveling to new places.

Alhamdulillah, I was also able to travel to a lot of new places in the past decade (not last year though, thanks Corona!). My family has an annual tradition of going somewhere over the Christmas/New Year holidays, so that has usually been something that I’ve always looked forward to every year. We’ve done countries like Australia, UK/Ireland (many times), the USA (while I was there!), and, my personal favorite, Norway! We also went for Umrah in 2011.

decade review - 2020
Ushering in 2020 in Norway last year with the ever-elusive Northern Lights.

Studying in the US and the UK also opened up a lot of opportunities for me to travel. My friends and I had the chance to do a lot of road trips in the US, and we spent time visiting different states across the country. My favorite from the US was definitely my last winter, where we drove down to New Orleans and went on a 5-day cruise to Mexico. I was also able to bring Aiman up to Edinburgh for our anniversary trip in 2019, which was fun.

Exploring my options.

Perhaps one big thing that I’m always amazed at is how much my ambition and dream career changed over the past decade. In high school, I was really set on either pursuing engineering or something related to computer science or animation. After SPM, I ended up pursuing Actuarial Science as a degree.

Young(er) SyazDani during an Actuarial Science conference at UIUC. Aiman only survived half the day before he called it quits lol.

But now, we all know that I’ve left Actuarial Science behind and went into Higher Education. Even during my university years, I was contemplating changing my major to Human Resources. Even though I didn’t, a lot of what I do now is somewhat HR-related, especially in my career coaching.

I am still somewhat exploring my options, but at least I am somewhat clearer about my future now compared to 10 years ago. Would I have done things differently? Maybe, but I’m grateful for what happened. The past 5+ years have been full of self-discovery and reflecting on what I want to do with my life. And, Alhamdulillah, it has been an insightful journey so far.

Personal growth.

I definitely changed a lot from the messy, scrawny kid I was at 17 and now at 27 years old. For one thing, younger me (when I was 15) said that I didn’t want to get married early. Hah, guess what 15-yo Syaza Nazura, you got married at 25 years old. I never thought I would be married at 25yo, but I definitely did not regret it.

decade review 2011
This was taken in 2011 during a school camp at KTJ.
Fun fact: The pants I was wearing were bought probably in 2008 or 2009, and I am still using them now.

Then there’s this blog, which has grown so much over the past decade. From a random small personal blog to buying my first domain and experimenting with self-hosting on WordPress, this blog has definitely grown into something so much bigger than what I initially expected. Another side project that I started two years ago, my #SayWhat newsletter, has also grown, which is just amazing.

One thing that stays true all these while is my preference to wear sweaters, jeans & sneakers out wherever I go. Of course, now that I’m a working adult, I have to slowly work on how I present myself to the world. This is especially more important if I want to fully pursue my coaching business.

Oh well. One step at a time, no?

What about you?

That should be it for me & my decade review. There are definitely a lot of things missing from the list, but I’d spare you from the long list of self-absorbed accomplishments and all that. There’s definitely a lot of failed tries and attempts, including a lot of failed friendships and relationships, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. And it doesn’t hurt to take some time to really celebrate how much I’ve grown and done in the past decade.

There’s still a lot to do and accomplished, such as my 21 for 2021 list. And God knows what’s going to happen in the next decade! Between now and 2031, there would be a lot of new things to explore. Potentially new careers, maybe a couple of new houses, maybe kids and being parents? Who knows what the future holds, and I’m both excited and nervous for the future.

What about you and your decade review? How has the past decade been for you? What are some of your highlights from the last decade, and what are some things that you are looking forward to in the next decade? Share with us in the comments section below!

That should be all for now. Until next time, stay safe, take care, and stay awesome!

2 Comments

  • From a 14 years old school student to 24 years old university student. The past decade was a bit challenging for me. Diagnose with a mental health problem and defer study but I survived until now. But apart from these challenges/problems, I’ve learned a lot. One thing you need to know never gives up. It’s okay if you fail but you need to know to get up, try and try again. Don’t compare yourself to your friends or other people. Everyone has a different path you know. Love yourself💓

    • Thank you for sharing your story A! Definitely echo your thoughts – ‘Don’t compare yourself to your friends or other people’, this is an important reminder to all of us to live our lives and focus on being a better Us. I’m proud of how much you’ve grown, and you should be too! And may the next decade be a little better for all of us, insyaAllah!

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