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Goodbye 2015, hello 2016!

Happy New Year 2016! 🥳

Captain Picard saying “don’t just wish for a happy new year 2016, make it so”.

2015 was a year of highs and lows for me. I did so many things for the first time and really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I made new friends and grew closer to old friends. At the same time I struggled more than ever with my old enemies depression, insomnia, migraine and impostor syndrome. All in all, I guess you can call it “life” 😊

Highlights of 2015

SQL Server User Group Norway and SQLSaturday Oslo

SQL Server User Group Norway Logo.

We organized eight meetings, a SQLSaturday, and 222 new members joined our Meetup group in 2015! The second SQLSaturday in Oslo was a success with 164 attendees from eight countries and 24 speakers from fifteen countries. We also organized two pre-conference workshops for the first time. A lot of work, a lot of new things learned, some bumps along the way, but lots of fun with a great team of organizers.


Cathrine Wilhelmsen speaking at SQLBits XIV.

I presented at a conference for the first time, and presented at four conferences in total: SQL Server Konferenz in Germany, SQLBits XIV in the UK, SQL Server Days in Belgium, and PASS Summit in the US. I also presented at five SQLSaturdays in Exeter, Lisbon, Gothenburg, Copenhagen and Portland. Very happy I got to do the whole Scandinavian tour! I did a webinar for the first time for Pragmatic Works, and another webinar for 24 Hours of PASS. I was also a guest in a podcast and in a Channel9 show for the first time.

Blogging icon.

The number of page views and visitors nearly tripled in 2015, but the most important thing for me is that I’m starting to find my voice and figure out what I want to blog about. I spent a lot of time in November upgrading this website. I created a new design, but I also made a ton of improvements behind the scenes to make things more focused and organized. I had a lot of fun doing research for my blog posts, but I still have many drafts that are months overdue.

Becoming an MVP

Cathrine Wilhelmsen becoming a Microsoft SQL Server MVP.

Finally, I became a Microsoft MVP in 2015. First a SQL Server MVP, then a Data Platform MVP. To be honest, it was quite overwhelming and definitely made my impostor syndrome kick in. I still believe there are many others who deserve the award more than me, and I still feel like I got away easy because I’m female in a small country. However, I also know how many hours and how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am today. I’m proud of that, and I truly appreciate being recognized by Microsoft for it. It inspires me to keep giving back to the community.

Looking forward to 2016

I’ve struggled with depression and insomnia for over ten years. One of the reasons I got involved in the SQL Server community was to help fight my depression by doing something meaningful for others. It’s easy to become self-absorbed when you’re depressed, so getting involved and making commitments to others pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me focus. It changed my life. Along the way I made some amazing friends who have helped me more than they probably realize.

However, with so many amazing experiences, so much traveling, and so many friends made… The highlights made the normal days of being home alone even more difficult. A very stressful time at work combined with a lot of stress getting presentations ready didn’t really help me sleep. On top of that I had migraines once or twice each month that knocked me out for days.

I know I will still struggle with these things in 2016, but I have also learned so much in 2015 that will help me make things better. I need to prioritize my health, otherwise I won’t have the energy to do all the things I want to do in 2016. I have to prioritize tasks better, or I won’t get anything done. I want to spend more time with friends and family, because those are the moments I remember.

And I still have time in my calendar for some SQL stuff 🤓 In 2016, I will do a full-day workshop (precon) for the first time at SQLBits XV! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time. I have submitted sessions to several conferences and SQLSaturdays and I’m crossing my fingers that someone wants to hear me blabbering about Biml. I have a ton of ideas for blog posts I want to write, and I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zone and create at least one video blog post, then see if I’m brave enough to attempt it again. I want to try to make SQL Server User Group Norway more like a community and less like a random Meetup group, and I can’t wait to see SQLSaturday Oslo 2016 go live!

Be awesome and make 2016 your best year so far 😊

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About the Author

Professional headshot of Cathrine Wilhelmsen.Cathrine Wilhelmsen is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, international speaker, author, blogger, organizer, and chronic volunteer. She loves data and coding, as well as teaching and sharing knowledge - oh, and sci-fi, gaming, coffee and chocolate 🤓