Saturday, 25 May 2013

Second Year Personal Review

For me, my second year could only be described as a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. I am writing this blog completely openly so that anyone who wishes to read it may do so. I hope this final second year blog will enable you to gain a little insight into my successes this year and my personal struggles I have endured in order to reach my goals.

My story of recent years is that in January 2010 my girlfriend suffered a blood clot on her brain and at that time myself, family and friends were told to fear for the worse. Both I and my girlfriend, Sophia, at that time were first year students on the DMU Game Art and Design course until, after only four months in, it all came to an abrupt halt. The force of what happened on January 11th 2010 to Sophia impacted so many people and it will probably never leave me completely. But, as time ticked away, an eternity for me, Sophia began to show signs of improvement and her sheer determination brought her to a point where she is now able to live a fairly normal life.

In September 2011 Sophia had reached a mile stone in her long hard road to recovery and I had built enough courage, as well as enough encouragement from certain individuals to make the impossible decision to rejoin the Game Art course without her. I have worked and studied hard all of my life and so has Sophia, and we deserve the chance to work for a degree, even if it means we will only be rewarded with one degree between us.

My first year back on the course was more difficult emotionally than anything else, but I was greeted by many new faces with understanding and support which lifted me up and carried me through. This year started so positively, Sophia had started a college course for people who had suffered brain injuries and it gave me strength to know that she was still able to enjoy an education in the arts. The work for myself at uni was intense and plentiful and with so many things to keep on top of at home away from my studies, paperwork, various appointments for Sophia, paperwork, contact with social care, doctors, deputies, carers and more, and more paperwork etc. everything together began to get on top of me and my anxieties grew as I became more and more aware that having so many balls up in the air, it was inevitable that I was eventually going to drop one.

I do not enjoy living in Leicester full stop. For the most part, people are rude, ignorant and have no compassion for their fellow human beings, in 2011 I was mugged at a park at the end of my street, and when Sophia became ill I was put through three years of real hell and suffering and my life was ripped apart, over before it had barely began. But as my life began to fall back into place, my worries, anxieties and the stress brought on by everything didn't seem to be dissipating.

For reasons I am unable to explain this year I have worried and become stressed more than ever before. At times I let things get to me too easily, even trivial, unimportant things, but I am passionate about certain things and this year the prospect of staying here in Leicester a minute longer has just gotten too much and I have come so close to packing up, dropping my studies and leaving and never looking back, the pressure and the stress has made me ill and it eventually came to a point where it was obvious to me that none of this, a degree, my friends in Leicester, and the small life we have built for ourselves here was worth it. It was time to go.

Up to this point I had still worked as hard as I always do on my university work and was more than happy with the quality of the work I had been producing, but nothing was going to stop me from producing this work anywhere and at any time. What happened next was what every person deserves when they reach a breaking point and what I hope everyone is offered. The support from my friends, my family, my acquaintances, my tutors and my friends and fellow students at university burst into life and overwhelmed me. The decision was still my own, but by the strength of others it was being forced back, fought back in the opposite direction. The right direction?

I don’t believe in fate or destiny, or that everything that happens, happens for a reason. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. I am a scientist at heart and a geek in the flesh, and what I KNOW is that at present, the only real logical explanation that anything happens when it happens, IS BECAUSE IT JUST HAPPENED. You might say that sheer luck or the infinite possibilities of the way the universe works happened to give me my final push, others are entitled to say that I was meant to stumble across what I did. All I know is that at the final fork in the road I was presented with a random quote from Thomas Alva Edison;


With the second year group project looming my decision to stick at it and persevere would turn out to be the right one, and a boost in energy, positivity and willingness was exactly what I needed in order to manage the incoming influx of work for the project. Fortunately though, in February, I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that I was being placed into a group with whom I already knew were five other incredibly hard working and talented students who, over the next fourteen weeks would only reinforce my already high opinion of them. Not to say that I'm not also confident that during the project I worked impeccably hard to make an outstanding contribution to the groups work, the work was difficult enough, but with the added pressure of my caring role at home it has taken every last ounce of my energy to produce the amount of work at the standard that I have. But the support and understanding given to me from my five team mates during the project, Chelsea Lindsay, Luc Fontenoy, Dominic Bell, Daniel Peacock and Dan Hargreaves, made everything so much easier and so worthwhile. They are truly wonderful individuals and extremely talented artists. I wish them all of the luck in the world in their future endeavours and here is to hoping that we may have the opportunity to work together again in the future. Again I would like to say that I have been extremely lucky to have been placed in this group with five other hard working and talented artists.

Before I finish my post, I would just like to wish the best of luck to two of my fellow students and close friends who have been given the opportunity to work with BMW in Munich, Germany for a whole year starting in September. I am insanely jealous of you both but I'm certain that you will both be fantastic role models for the Game Art and Design course and go on to have very successful careers within the video game, art, visual effects industries or wherever else life leads you.

This year has been one of, if not the hardest years of education I have ever endured, for all of the reasons above and many, many more. I would like to end my post by taking the opportunity to thank my beautiful wife Sophia, and my wonderful family for the support and understanding they have offered me during the whole year. I have had to lock myself away from the world for many, many hours over the last eight months in order to fully devote myself to the work and Sophia, family and friends have been wonderful in offering constant support and patience at times when I have become upset and stressed with the amount of work I have had to do. So I thank you all, and give my word that what ever next year brings, whatever next year throws at me, I will give as much effort and devotion to my work as I have this year and finally come home with that scroll of paper that me and Sophia more than deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Nobody deserves that scroll of paper more than you Joe. It must have been so difficult, I'm really glad you battled through it - you should be proud of yourself! Only one more year to go, and I know you're going to make something awesome.