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Reflecting on the back end of 2015

With a new year drawing perilously - or not so perilously - close, I thought it reasonable to look back on what the second half of 2015 has had in store for me.

I take the chance now, before all that 'looking forward' and 'seeing what the future holds' frenzy takes hold in the first week of January.

You know the sort: everyone's plans and visions for the year ahead are laid out in ambitious fullness, only to realise about two weeks later that it sort of probably won't happen.

Anyway, looking back; that's what I'm here for.

I turned 20. Whatever that means. I know it's a mathematical calculation of my age in years, but does it mean I'm supposed to behave differently now that I'm no longer a "teenage dirt bag, baby"? If it does, I've completely ignored the convention.

It's also worth mentioning that I made my debut for five-times European champions FC Barcelona. Apparently ...

If only I had the opportunity to lift the Champions League at Arsenal's stadium ... *sigh*

It's been a pretty good second half of 2015 for me. I won't lie or play it down. I'm certainly not going to insult billions across the world by suggesting "I've had it pretty tough". Yes, there have been difficult moments but for the large part it's been bloody brilliant.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the start to my second year studying journalism at the University of Lincoln. It's been a huge step-up in terms of workload. There's been no doubt about that. On top of nearly 30 hours of scheduled university lessons per week, I've been editing and presenting the Breakfast Show on the East Midlands' Station of the Year, Siren FM.

The brilliant Siren FM Breakfast Show team

The commitment and work put into producing hours of high quality programming per week has been strenuous alongside my studies but it's been an absolute delight to work with a team of people who are talented, passionate and who I call friends. They've been excellent so far and I'm confident that 2016 will be an even better year for the Siren FM Breakfast Show.

I feel as though I'm improving my journalistic, broadcasting and presenting skills all the time. My grades so far have reflected that too.

While I ended my first year at university with an average grade of 69 which represents an upper second-class, or 2:1, I have so far this year attained a first-class in each of my assignments. Naturally, I hope this continues but sadly doubt it when thinking of some of the things I produced during what I describe somewhat euphemistically as a 'busy' Christmas hand-in.

My start to university in September was delayed slightly, though, by a two-week work experience placement at the BBC. Of course, I was so proud of this and enjoyed working for them for the fortnight. I felt like I produced some really good material for them which was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham. I made a good enough impression to have been given access to some experiences and parts of the studios not normally given to work experience and I was delighted to be invited back by the team.

Being on the floor of BBC East Midlands Today during a live programme and helping with production was just so brilliant.

Away from the career, I've moved into my first house. Kind of. It's a student house which I moved into in September and while it may seem trivial to those who've paid off their mortgages (or have just started to), it's a pretty big step for anyone who has done so.

My friends are as brilliant as ever and I'm glad to say that my friendships have grown stronger throughout 2015 and again I hope this maintains the same haste in 2016. It goes without saying that my close family remain a rock and I'm glad to say that friends and family have maintained happiness and good health.

Most of them that is. There have been a few sad stories of ill or passing friends. And I remember and think of them all.

I want to make sure that 2016 is full of even more exciting and good stuff. I'm already planning for it!

But the last few months ain't been bad. Whether it's been a holiday to Barcelona, working at the BBC, Siren Breakfast, university, friends, family, or whatever - the backside on 2015 is looking mighty fine to me.

Thanks to everyone who's been a part of it and I wish you a very happy new year.


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