2013: A Very Liberal Learning Curve

Firstly, from a political perspective, 2013 has been a phenomenal year! Had you told me a year ago that I would be a non-sabbatical officer at my students’ union, as well as the West Midlands’ Liberal Youth chair, I would probably have laughed in your face and told you not to be so unrealistic.

Right at the start of the year, I made the decision to join the Liberal Democrats, something that I have not looked back on throughout the whole year! As a member of the Liberal Democrats, I have fought my first by-election (in Eastleigh), attended my first summer camp in Norway, and spent five days in Glasgow at the Liberal Democrat federal conference. Politics has given me so many amazing opportunities over the last year to grow as a person and meet some amazing people.

Furthermore, I have become something of a coffee addict!! My ‘addiction’ has taken me to some awesome coffee shops and espresso bars in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Oslo, and Amsterdam! I spent a significant amount of time drinking phenomenal coffee and sharing these experiences with some phenomenal people!

I’ve become a major supporter of independent coffee shops which serve high-quality coffee. It is shocking to believe that this time last year I did not know what an Aeropress was! I’ve become a big fan of quality African coffee, with a number of roasteries, including London’s Squaremile and Hull’s ‘The Blending Room’, satisfying my tastes on a regular basis. Whereas this time last year I was a big fan of chain coffee, today I will not go into Starbucks and order any type of coffee, due to the fact that I find it monotonous and low quality!

Furthermore, from a personal perspective, 2013 has been a year of many highs and some lows . I’m so grateful for my amazing family and friends that I have around me to support me.

This year, I’ve had my first serious relationship and my first break up. Neither of these things were predicted at the start of the year. This relationship has taught me a lot about the person that I am! I tried to make as much of the success of it as I possibly can. I’m very sorry for the way that things ended, but I would like to thank this person for everything that we did together. I wish you every success in the future. To my family and friends, I intend to spend more time cherishing you guys in 2014.

This year has also seen me travel around the United Kingdom and Europe quite a bit. Over the course of the last 12 months, I’ve visited Spain on a number of occasions (including Barcelona, where I hope to be living this time next year), Norway, and the Netherlands.

In November, I undertook a trip to the Basque County and Catalonia to look at potential universities for my year abroad. My mother and I visited the University of the Basque Country in the picturesque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, as well as the University of Barcelona in the urban capital of Catalonia. I particularly enjoyed my city break to Amsterdam with my old man as during our two days in the city, we failed to use any private transport whatsoever!

I’m now looking forward to the start of 2014. This coming year will be a life-changing one for me; not least because in September, I will be moving to Spain to study there on my year abroad in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona (hopefully). I hope that this year will be one of opportunity for all and that those who deserve the opportunity to get on in life are empowered to do so.