Three years ago, I would have been utterly against the idea of going to university, believing that I was defiant in my refusal to go to university when everyone else was. Three years later, I’m not only optimistic about doing a three-year illustration course in Swansea, but I also now realize that everything I believed about going to university as a teenager was complete bunk.
I’ve been in college for nearly four years, and in that time, there are a lot of things I’ve had to think about, and at some point, I ran into a critical dilemma. This would be my final year in college, but I had no plan for what to do next. I had nothing but disdain for the video games industry, and while I had plenty of creative ideas for future projects (and I still do, with more to come), and didn’t exactly specify where I wanted to go with them. It wasn’t until September that I decided to finally discuss university as an option. By this point, nearly everyone I knew was at least considering it, even if some didn’t want to go to university the year before. Unlike previous years, however, I actually saw the reason why people were going to university, and sought out my own reasons for going as well. I also want through a lengthy decision process where I contemplated fine art, illustration, creative writing, and at one point even film studies, before eventually settling on the BA Illustation course at the Swansea College of Art.
Naturally, this decision came as a shock my mother, who had thought that I was jumping into a risky decision without giving it any thought. For the first month of the decision process, she was right, but after I did more reading, my excitement and understanding grew. Predictably enough, both my parents had issue with my firm decision to study away from home, and perhaps rightly so, since this would perhaps be the most radical change in my life in nearly a decade. They tried using every argument to convince me to change my mind, even going so far as to argue that I couldn’t live in halls because I had autism. That only made it impossible for me to take their concerns seriously, since they were all based on the overprotective paranoia of neurotypical parents.
When making this decision, I fully understood that I was taking a big risk. In fact, that element of risk made it even more attractive. However, what they didn’t see at the beginning (I hope they do now) was that I wasn’t taking this chance just to leave the nest as quickly as possible. The strong desire for independence was a key factor in my decision, but I want to go to university now because I have great concern for my future. I worried that I was doomed to walk my 20’s without any idea of what I want to do, all while I’d still be painfully single, living with my parents, and trapped with the notion that my autism is some kind of social barrier (an idea I have been fighting relentlessly against). I had to ask myself, “is this my future?”
All that aside, now that I’ve decided firmly where I want to go (even if UCAS has no idea as of yet), I still have one unresolved question – where do I from there? Since the beginnings of the creative renaissance I’ve experienced in the BTEC art course, I’ve been getting tons of ideas for various projects (with some ideas coming from the strangest places), and according to the university’s website, Swansea’s illustration course provides a good foundation for a career as a self-employed artist/designer, an illustrator for a major publishing company, a children’s book author/illustrator, or even a teacher, and perhaps there are other possibilities I don’t know of yet.
Thankfully, I have three more years to decide where I want to go after Swansea (I’ll probably be offered the chance to do a master’s degree, which I’ll respectfully decline), but in the mean time, I have a vague idea of where I’m going, it’s going to be fun. The main thing I’ll get out of this is a new experience, and a new outlook on life that I desperately need. Maybe I’ll find the one thing I’ve been longing for all this time.