Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Word On Scottish Universities For Those In England

Being in my last year of sixth form college, I'm now nearing completion of my UCAS form, ready for it to be sent off to UCAS for them to apply to my five choices of university. So you'd think that by now, I'd know everything I need to about my choices, right? That's what I thought too, until I visited Glasgow University last weekend.

Glasgow has been one of my choices for a while now, but it's always been sitting under Sheffield, as I consider Sheffield to be as near perfect as I could find for a combination of computer science course, accommodation, city and activities. I also wasn't so keen on studying one subject for the four years in Scotland, rather than three years in England. Except that's not how it works.

It would seem that, at least in my area, the people who advise us college students on university choices seem to have forgotten to explain (or simply don't know) how the Scottish system works. It allows for study of three subjects from the same 'School' (eg. The sciences) in your first year of study, followed by two in the second year, and then your chosen degree subject in more depth for the remaining two years. The final degree subject, other than having to be one of your original three subjects doesn't have to be picked until the end of the second year, allowing for far more flexibility than the 'one subject until the end' system we have in England.

As I've said, I don't know if I didn't find this out because the advisers didn't know themselves, or because they just didn't tell us. I guess I'll find out when I ask after half term. Either way this is a complete game changer. After looking into it, it seems the Scottish system is widely recognised as being superior to ours, and other countries (including the US) have emulated it. (I wouldn't like to speculate, but maybe we weren't told so we wouldn't 'defect' to Scotland? Shh, I didn't say that).

Glasgow is now my first choice for university. It could hardly be anything but, considering the massive flexibility compared to Sheffield, Leeds, and all my other English choices. I have to say, it's not the fault of those unis, they are great, but they can only do so well in an inferior system before they hit a ceiling. The applications process is far better as well, with just one simple change. Instead of looking at my predicted grades and thinking 'based on these (nonexistent, purely predicted, like the weather) grades, he might not make it', and basing their choice on whether to give me an offer on that, Glasgow will instead just make sure I'm studying the right subjects and immediately offer the place, allowing me to achieve (or fail) the grades in my own right, rather than basing their choice on something a computer algorithm came out with.

I don't mean to sound harsh towards the English system, or the staff who didn't tell me about the Scottish system, but it really was almost too late for me to find out. Still, it's sorted now, and hopefully I'll get in. Incidentally, Glasgow is ranked higher than Sheffield. Just saying.

Tall again soon,

PS. Sorry for the delay. I've written about five halves of posts and been unable to finish them due to a bit of writer's block. And then as you can see I've been busy recently. Hopefully all will be back to normal soon.

PPS. This post was entirely created on my phone, so please forgive the lack of links and creative editing.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Going To Scotland! And A Couple Of Other Things.

The place I'm going to is in this picture
Yup. Title says it all really, need I say more? Alright alright, since this is actually a blog post, I guess I better explain. Me and my friend are going up to see our new Scottish friends, one of whom is in fact his girlfriend. Lucky git. We're going up in a couple of weeks, when it's our half term holiday. It won't be theirs though, which is why we're going a weekend. Just after Halloween in fact, so I'll let you guys work out the dates. I've already said how much I love Scotland, but my friend hasn't so much as set foot North of the border before. This is gonna be interesting.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Panic Stations!

So now I've caught your attention with the title (and the graphic! I'd like to point out I'm not female...), am I in danger? Am I about to hit a big giant problem wall and go splat? Or maybe there's a test coming and I'm completely unprepared? Nope, nothing. But any day could turn into something that feels like that, if the right triggers happen.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Thoughtsplat! #2 - Scotland

Scotland The Brave!
It's been far too long since my last (and first) Thoughtsplat!, but here we are with another one, finally! If you can't remember what a Thoughtsplat! is, or you're new, follow the link above. I think it's probably pretty easy to guess this splat's topic, what with the flag picture and the title. Yes, it's that great country just north of me, Scotland!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

World Mental Health Day 2013 - A Little Talk On People's Views

So here I am, sitting watching Waterloo Road, when suddenly I realise, I haven't done a blog today! Now normally, theres nothing wrong with that. But today is World Mental Health Day, and I have to write something at least.

Every year, 1 in 4 people will suffer from some form of mental illness. Some of these are lifetime, like me and others with Asperger's and autism, and some last less time, like depression. But the one thing we all have in common is the feeling of difference. That theres something not quite right, or odd. This is where everyone else comes in. Either people accept the difference, and help them, and learn to understand, or they discriminate. More and more people are choosing to help, but it can still be a problem.

I'm always told that I'm 'brave', because I openly discuss my Asperger's,  and I freely talk about it. But I dont feel brave or courageous because of it. I do it because I want to help others understand, and because it's easier to cope when other people know what I'm dealing with. I'm surrounded by supportive friends and family, many of whom have their own difficulties, and can at least relate to my situation. But a lot of people don't have that luxury. They're around people who either don't understand, or don't want to. I want to live in a world where it doesn't take a 'brave' man to stand and say 'I have autism', or 'I have depression'. A world where all people can just get along, regardless of their mental state. You wouldn't reject a black man for his differences, or person with one leg, would you? And so there is no reason to reject us either.

This is one of the main reasons have this blog, to raise awareness of my particular disorder, and to help everyone understand. I hope that one day, there won't need to be any self-advocates, or demonstrations, or marches, because we will all understand and accept each other. After all, we are all human.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Featured Blog - A Quiet Week

Just a quick update today guys, a great blog I've found!

A Quiet Week is a a blog run by a woman called Lori, who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few years ago. Her Dad was also diagnosed, and her son was diagnosed with autism. Her blog aims to share her wisdom, experiences and humour, and there are plenty of all three! Lori shares many of my views on both the positive and negative points of the autism spectrum, though it seems we both seem to whole heartedly step up to the challenges, and roll with the good times.

I'd like to point out one post in particular, How To Be Friends With An Aspie, as an example of just how positive things can be, and to show her great humour and insights. Everything about it is just great. And the main message of it too, is something I'd like to talk about, probably more another day. Friendship really is that important to us. I might not express it the same way as everyone else, I might seem to misunderstand, or put a foot in the wrong place, but it's always my aim to make people happy, and to fully appreciate the wonder that is the people and friends I have around me.

Lori's blog now has a permanent little spot on my Useful Links page, so please, go and check it out.


PS, I think it's time for another Thoughtsplat soon, seems like a good idea

Monday, 7 October 2013

Back Again - Change And Meeting New People

Alright alright, I've done it again. Promised to start regularly updating, before going silent for several weeks. I'm kicking myself for doing it, but I just feel so busy all the time! I know I'm really probably not as busy as I think I am, but it's really difficult to remember to do everything; I've said before how I have difficulty organising myself. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it! At least I hope I am, I've got two different projects to do this year...