I was fortunate to be renewed today for the Microsoft MVP award, for the 5th time. When I got awarded the first time in October 2016, I never dreamed that I would be still here 5 cycles later. This year is bittersweet for me, as I'm only getting renewed due to the generosity of the Microsoft MVP Award program team. I only had a single-digit number of contributions logged, far from my normal contribution level. I was initially dreading the renewal process, but in early February 2021, the program team emailed all MVPs and told us that we would all be receiving a 1-year extension if we were up for renewal this July 1st. What a relief!

Grateful for the auto-renewal

It goes without saying, but at the same time needs to be said: I'm thankful for the MVP program team making this decision and making it early enough to avoid the usual stress of getting all of our contributions in by March 31st. Leading up to July 1st, it's the first time I have not thought about renewal day at all, since I knew what the "decision" was already. Just seeing the email in February almost made me cry, I won't lie, I knew I had virtually no contributions since the renewal period began and I was at the point of "cramming" (going crazy with contributions the last 2 months) or "fuck it" (give up trying).

Email from MVP Program awarding me with a renewal for 2021-2022.

COVID-19 Impact

This decision to auto-renew us had a big impact on those who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic with contributions. Throughout the last cycle, I saw many amazing contributions by MVPs worldwide, and I saw many others struggle with contributions for various reasons. I fell into the second group - I lost almost all motivation to blog (my primary contribution method), and only recently has the excitement & desire to write and contribute started to come back. For others who primarily had contributions at in-person events, those opportunities disappeared and are only now starting to come back. There are so many different stories and reasons for people to have struggled, not the least of which were illnesses, lifestyle changes, kids-at-home-all-day, you name it.

I am seeing more and more contributions from MVPs with the comment "I've finally started blogging again" or similar for however they choose to contribute. It makes me smile to know I wasn't alone this past year. I have written more since April 1st than I did all of last year, which is not enough to be where I want to be, but a heck of a good start back to contributing regularly.

5 MVP Awards

My first renewal was in Oct 2016, back when awards were still quarterly. The program was changed a few months later and my "1st" award ran up to June 30, 2018, closer to 2 years than 1 year! This year is my actual "5th" award. Next year I hope to be back here saying I was renewed - legitimately - for the 6th time!