Here we are, at the end of another lap around the sun: 2022 is over. This year was special for me since it marks my first year as a mother. Becoming a parent is, no doubt about it, one of the biggest changes in a person’s life. It is wonderful but also challenging. This year, I discovered the true meaning of the word exhausted – my previous daily routine feels like a breeze now. What I was doing with so much free time!? Of course the tiredness comes along with plenty of sweet moments –which make it worth– but also with a lot of learning and self-grow.
Every second counts in this life! especially when you have a full time job, a new baby, and way too many books to read, podcasts to listen, things to learn, and ideas for new projects to explore –and don’t forget new recipes for cakes to bake! So, in 2022 I learned to manage my time and my energy better than ever. This has not only made me more efficient at my work, but also better at decluttering my life, getting rid of all those things/activities that were not really contributing to my development, and instead spending more time doing what makes me happy.
My message for all working moms out there feeling overwhelmed trying to balance life is: being a mom will make you a better version of yourself. It does take a bit of time to adjust. The first couple of weeks back at work may feel strange, and you may feel a bit rusty, and your baby is in your mind a lot, and probably you will experience a bit of mom-guilt. But it will pass; and you will meet the new you: a more assertive person with a new broader perspective about life, new dreams, more ambitions, and less tolerance for anything that does not contribute to your well-being. Just hang on and give yourself a bit of patience.
Besides experiencing the joys –and frustrations–of being parent, this year I had a lot of fun returning to work, reading, making some new tutorials, learning, and of course programming. This was not the most perfect year (e.g. I got Covid-19 after avoiding it for more than 2 years) but it was a happy one. Overall, I feel very happy and optimistic about the challenges and opportunities ahead. Here it is a brief review of my 2022.
I started a new job
When 2022 began I was working at Citi bank. My experience there was awesome and I really enjoyed my time there. In particular, it was great to go back to C++ after many years of not working with it on a daily basis. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to learn about Commodities from a very knowledgeable team.
At the beginning of the year some opportunities appeared suddenly -the quant market is always hectic but 2022 was particularly busy. Thus, after a lot of thinking I re-joined Bank of America in July. This time I joined the Cross-Asset team within the Quantitative Strategies and Data Group. The team works on problems which are relevant for all asset classes, this makes the job very interesting and gives plenty of opportunities to learn. It has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to the work that is coming in 2023.
- I wrote 18 posts and re-designed my personal website
- I released new versions of both twopiece and fanchart libraries. I also worked on a new project: aleatory, a Python library to simulate and visualise stochastic processes in a quick and easy way. A tutorial is coming soon.
- I made 461 commits in GitHub, making this my best year since I joined!
In 2022, I had the pleasure of giving some talks and a workshop this year
- “Industry Expert Lecture in Finance” at King’s College, UK. Talk for students of the MSc in Computational Finance
- “Women in Financial Mathematics” at the 1st Meeting of Female Mathematicians in Oaxaca, Mexico (remote). The event was part of an initiative to promote the participation of women in STEM careers
- “Introduction to Quantitative Analysis in Corporate and Investment Banks” at the Colloquium on Mathematics and its Application, UNPA, Mexico (remote)
- “A Short Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods in Finance” at the 5th International Conference on Mathematical Modelling 5ICMM, Mexico (remote). The course was aimed to undergraduate students and general audience interested on Financial Mathematics. Materials available here
- “Round Table: Mathematician Working outside Academia”, UTM, Mexico (remote).
At the beginning of the year, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by motherhood. So, I was pessimistic about being able to find the time to read non-technical books. So, I set a target of reading 6 books in 2022. Gladly, I managed to read many more books and also lots of articles. Here are my top ten favourite books of this year.
A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself by Peter Ho Davies
- “Traces the complex consequences of one of the most personal yet public, intimate yet political experiences a family can have: to have a child, and conversely, the decision not to have a child.”
Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
- “Gripping and compassionate, it depicts the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.”
Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh
- “For almost a decade, Claudia has counselled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.”
The meteorite (Spanish) El meteorito: De cuando fui madre y todo voló en mil pedazo by Amaia Arrazola
- “This book is not a guide on motherhood, it is an experience: that of the illustrator Amaia Arrazola, in whose life two years ago a meteorite called Ane landed. This experience, including pregnancy and childbirth, is what she captures here with enormous courage and generosity, emphasizing what is not usually mentioned, such as insecurity, frustration or mourning for her previous life. But it is also the story of an instinctive love that does not require conditions”
Who Wants to be a Mother (Spanish) Quién quiere ser madre by Silvia Nanclares
- “An autobiographical novel about a woman who, just before turning forty and shortly after losing her father, decides to try to get pregnant.”
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
- “A follow-up to Matt Haig’s internationally bestselling memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, a broader look at how modern life feeds our anxiety, and how to live a better life. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.”
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
- “In ten, up-to-date maps of each region, Marshall explains in clear and engaging prose the complex geo-political strategies of these key parts of the globe. What does it mean that Russia must have a navy, but also has frozen ports six months a year? How does this affect Putin’s treatment of Ukraine? How is China’s future constrained by its geography? Why will Europe never be united? Why will America never be invaded? Shining a light on the unavoidable physical realities that shape all of our aspirations and endeavors, Prisoners of Geography is the critical guide to one of the major (and most often overlooked) determining factors in world history.”
The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy by Mervyn A. King
- “Something is wrong with our banking system. We all sense that, but Mervyn King knows it firsthand; his ten years at the helm of the Bank of England, including at the height of the financial crisis, revealed profound truths about the mechanisms of our capitalist society. In The End of Alchemy he offers us an essential work about the history and future of money and banking, the keys to modern finance.”
- “When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave, ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’, wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.”
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
- ” In The Psychology of Money, award-winning author Morgan Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.”
For 2023, I decided no to set a fixed number of books and just enjoy reading as much as I can. I am going to publish my “Want to Read” list for next year soon.
Random Pictures from 2022
Coming in 2023
In 2023, I want to share more of what I have learned over my six years as a mathematician working in Finance. So, there are lots of new things coming into this website. Starting with some tutorials about several topics in financial mathematics with Python code. On the personal side, I want to go back to doing yoga and running since this is an area of my life that has been neglected this year.
Well, that’s it for now! Happy New Year!
P.s. Please leave me your book recommendations in the comments!