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Last year about this time, I had a meltdown, which is a symptom of burnout. I’d like to explain a little bit about my burnout in the hopes that other people can avoid it. I want to help people, and I’m a people pleaser. I’m a giver, and sometimes I give too much, to the point I have nothing left. I have to be aware when people exploit this. One collaboration, unfortunately took advantage of my giving nature.

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As part of my new year’s resolution to learn new things about R, I’m trying to plug some holes in my R knowledge by writing more vignettes to explain them to myself this year. This week I finally think I understand more about namespaces in R and why you should use them in your R package. Namespaces: Why Bother? In short, we need namespaces because of the ambiguity of function names.

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Well, RStudio Conf 2019 has come and gone. I attended the main conference, starting with the poster session on wednesday and stayed through the tidyverse developer day on Saturday. To say that the conference was inspiring was an understatement. So many talented people working on such interesting and inspiring packages! It made me excited again about doing data science and teaching data science. This post is going to highlight the interesting talks about education and organizational management at the conference.

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At some point in your life in Data Science, you will probably struggle with impostor syndrome. We all do - in fact, even though I have used R and have done bioinformatics and data science for more than 15 years, I still struggle with this feeling. As a beginner, the mountain you must climb to master skills in data science seems like a long and impossible one. Caitlin Hudon, in her post about dealing with impostor syndrome has this to say about countering impostor syndrome:

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Well, we just finished our clinical data wrangling workshop. This was a 12 hour workshop (spread over 4 days) where students got to work with a real research dataset (the Sleep Heart Health Study data). This is a workshop that we developed as part of an National Library of Medicine T15 training supplement in Data Science. The following is a short report describing the workshop and its outcomes. Intended Audience We designed the workshop for our incoming informatics students (both clinical and biological majors) in order to introduce them to the difficulties of working with clinical data.

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Note: sometimes I write these posts to teach myself a better way to do things in R. I have been avoiding tidyeval somewhat, because I seem to have a bit of a learning block about it. I’m going to try to write some posts that help me understand what’s going on with Tidy Evaluation. Using sym() in a Shiny App One fairly simple Shiny Application might be selecting a column of the dataset and then doing something with it, such as using it in a select() or filter() statement.

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I’m still in the process of recovering from my current bout of depression and anxiety. I’d like to talk about what is currently helping me moderate my anxiety. I have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for the past three years and I’m beginning to realize how necessary it is in our information dense age. Many of my symptoms of anxiety are really from an information overglut. I’m currently on way too many projects and am teaching as well.

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I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me after I wrote my post on struggling with my depression and self-care. I am incredibly grateful for everyone’s concern about me. I wrote that at a low point in my life because I had to. I was suffering too long in silence, and I needed to do something. Writing that post was incredibly scary. I am still worried that it may be used against me somehow down the line when I am reviewed for tenure.

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Well, Cascadia-R 2018 has come and gone. This year we tried our best to make it as inclusive, welcoming, and friendly as we could. Considering we had 224 participants this time around, I’d say it was a success. I just thought I would do a little write up of some of the things we did and why we did them in our conference. I’m hoping it will be useful for other conference planners to create a welcoming environment.

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Note: I am not writing the following to complain, or excuse any past behavior. I am writing this just to be honest and transparent about my current struggles in academia. I hope it helps someone, or encourages other to seek help. I have to confess that I haven’t really been feeling all that well the past few months. Right now I am plagued with feelings that I am doing my work as an Assistant Professor wrong.

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