You’ve certainly become a much better writer. It may be just the year’s worth of experience (which is a long time when you’re in your 20s), but I kinda get the feeling you’re the type of guy who puts too much credit on external validation. I mean, that’s what I get from your articles. Without constantly being made aware of all the reactions to your writing, you’ve had the chance to do a bit of introspecting, and I think you stopped feeling so sorry for yourself and realized you’re not such a waste of space as you thought.
Which, in my mind, is a very good thing to realize. And, as I said, it shows in your writing.