Half the World Away – Life since Graduation, Living with Asperger’s and My New Year Goals

This is the time of year where the majority of people begin unveiling the annual ‘new year, new me’ statuses which are practically inescapable on my news feed, and most I know are probably once again setting out resolutions which are perhaps slightly unrealistic and end up being abandoned by the first week of January. I have to admit to probably being one of them in the past and setting out goals I can never achieve, which is why I have stopped bothering with them in recent years.

However, 2014 has been different for me. At the start of the year, I was still a university student and my only wish, more than anything, was to graduate with the best possible grade. That is probably a slightly meagre resolution to make, but graduating with a university degree seemed for me unrealistic in itself so many years ago due to having a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. The thought of me even getting into university was, just a few years ago, a source of humour perhaps. It was the general assumption I would fail to get into university by my former school and many other people that drove me on to prove them wrong, and I like to think I finally have. Most of the things I set myself out to achieve this year I have mostly succeeded in doing, including the proud achievement of graduating with a degree. On top of that, I feel I have gained a newfound confidence which I have lacked in everything for so many years and which has held me back, but not anymore. With that, I go into 2015 with new goals and milestones I want to accomplish, and plenty of renewed positivity and confidence that I can do exactly that.

As I am writing this, I am currently back in my adopted home of Cardiff (where I have previously studied university for the past three years). It’s a great feeling to be back here but accompanied by a sense of strangeness at the same time. It really doesn’t feel that long ago since I was coming here as a fresher, and only half a year has passed since I left as a graduate; simultaneously both feel not long ago at all and yet a lifetime ago. The world post-university feels like a parallel universe in many ways. It’s as if once you graduate, the whole bubble you’ve lived in for years just bursts.

It was shortly after graduating where I wrote a blog reflecting back on my graduation, as well as my goals and ambitions for the remaining part of this year and beyond along with my doubts for what the post-uni world would hold in store for me. Since writing that blog, the rest of this year has been spent occupying the strange gap between leaving university (and pretty much all form of education and student life for good), and achieving my first proper job. Admittedly, the path into the post-grad world has not been as easy, and not did I expect it to be. However, I know that as long as I keep believing and keep working hard to achieve my first job, eventually my hard work will pay off and the right job will find itself to me soon.

Regardless of that, there are so many positive points to take from 2014 as a whole. As anyone currently reading this and has read any of the gazillion other posts I have now put on my blog, this is a year where I have wholly embraced the whole medium of ‘blogging’. I have written journals to myself in the past but only as a way of getting things off my chest. Until now, I have never felt the urge to blog simply because I didn’t think anyone would have the slightest interest, and it was only for a university assignment that this whole thing was hesitantly started. However, I have decided to make use of it and turn it into a base for writing reviews, mainly music reviews or anything that tickles my fancy.

Being the reviews editor for the student newspaper set up by my course has ignited a newfound passion within me and allowed me to channel my two loves of music and writing into a hobby that is actually productive. I’ve been able to go to so many great gigs, cover so many fantastic festivals and meet lots of amazing music artists, some of who have even now become great friends.

As much as I love music, the thought of going to a live music gig or festival was almost impossible for me years ago due to my intense unease in crowds and noisy environments. Fast forward to now, I am attending gigs and doing interviews with local artists backstage regularly. I’ve basically been writing reviews entirely on my own accord, and to have so many people praise for me for my work is a huge reward in itself. It’s a great feeling for me to feel what I’m doing is being appreciated by people which is why I aim to continue doing this in the future.

Being able to help promote artists and events that I review is rewarding for me too, and even if I can help someone or something just get noticed by a few more people through doing reviews, I would be happy with that. I really hope that these are interests I can channel into a career in the PR, marketing or journalism industry. Having for so many years struggled to find something I’m naturally good at and which type of jobs I would be suited for, I feel this is an area I thrive in and believe I have the drive and level of passion to make a career in this possible.

Much as I have shown myself this year what I can achieve with belief and determination regardless of my condition, I have also had humbling reminders of the barriers my condition can and will continue to present. Mainly, I still find social situations such as parties or networking events naturally difficult, and continue to struggle with intensely noisy or crowded environments, which is why going to gigs or festivals still has its obstacles. At the same time, I’m now at a stage where I have now identified not only some of the difficulties I have such as coping in busy social situations and noisy environments, but what I can do to overcome them in the future.

Overall, I can look back on the year with no regrets whatsoever. In the past, I have probably been guilty of looking back over the past year lamenting over all the negative points and all the things I didn’t achieve, and setting myself goals for the New Year which are slightly too ambitious and ultimately unachievable, inevitably ending up in the same repeated cycle year after year. This year, I have largely conquered everything I set out to do, most notably graduating with a degree.

So what are my plans for 2015? Right now, I have plenty of goals in my head; mainly getting a job but so many countless others. The difference now compared to countless other NYE’s in the past is that I KNOW I can achieve them if I want to. Whether I do is down to how much I believe I can and how hard I work for them as I have this year. Looking back over 2014 is more than anything a vivid reminder of how my determination to achieve my goals can pay off.

Hopefully this year I can continue to achieve new milestones including landing my first job. Otherwise, my only wish is simply for more of the same and better in 2015. I wish to keep doing what I love as a hobby and writing reviews independently, continue to meet great, inspiring people and, of course, to keep blogging as much as possible.

To those of you who have kindly taken the time to read my blog which admittedly is probably very few, thank you very much for taking a few minutes to read through what is effectively just me rambling on for a whole page. I wish you all a very happy new year and success in achieving whatever your own goals are.

“I plan to have it all while I’m still young, And chase the fields across my dreams, In the shadow of the sun” – ‘Shadow of the Sun’, Paul Weller, 1993

One thought on “Half the World Away – Life since Graduation, Living with Asperger’s and My New Year Goals

  1. Pingback: Half the World Away – On the Inside Looking Out | Dean Hodge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s