Jonathan Dixson

Meadowsweet Scholar

I have now completed my first year of my undergraduate degree in mathematics, and have enjoyed the academic modules I studied this year as well as settling in to my university halls of residence and making friends with others in my halls and on my programme.

The whole experience of adjusting to university life was exciting but also very stressful for me and often overwhelming due to my Aspergers, so the scholarship has been a great help in making budgeting less stressful which made it easier for me to relax and focus on enjoying the experience with less worry, especially in the early days of settling in last Autumn. I hope to be able to overcome my stress in future, which I am sure my experiences at Exeter will help me to do so, especially given the problem solving and dense nature of my course.

The added support of the scholarship is something I am extremely grateful for and it will be hugely valuable in supporting me as it allows me the time to focus and be less overwhelmed, which I am sure would be harder to manage if I had to spend more time undertaking paid work with the stresses of balancing this against my degree. I am proud to have made it through my first year and proven to myself that I can manage living alone and studying on my own terms, although I still have lots of room to improve.

My experience on my program so far has has given me a clearer idea of what fields of maths I enjoy and what fields I don't, giving me a more specific view of the possible career paths for my future. I currently do not have an exact goal in mind, but I would ideally like to work in something involving pure mathematics; perhaps something in academia like research. I am looking forward to exploring pure mathematics further during second year to gain a more in depth understanding.

The hardest thing I've had to overcome has been the doubt over whether I could manage my course and the jump from living with my family to living in halls. For people like me who don't feel ready to become fully independent, the university accommodation setting is a really good stepping stone for true adulthood and independence and I have received great support from the University staff and lecturers whenever I have needed it. I think there is a good chance I will choose to remain in Exeter after I graduate, or at another university, to undertake further study and research, as I like the academic environment and the mini society that university represents.

I am looking forward to what the next academic year will bring and the additional progress I will make both academically and personally. I look forward to updating you further next year.