My name is Fern Buller and, in some sort of miracle, I am now a second year medical student at Nottingham. This past year has been the most amazing experience; I have loved almost every moment of it (I’d be mad if I loved exam period!) It is made even sweeter knowing how hard I worked to get here.
I’m sure everyone will agree when I say that seeing you’ve got an email reporting that there has been a change on your UCAS application is one of the most nerve wracking moments ever. You just have to hope that it’s good news, but in my case at least, it wasn’t. Applying to medical school is notoriously difficult, and I was aware of that when I decided to apply, but I had no idea how scared I would get when rejection after rejection was sent in reply to my extremely (almost embarrassingly) enthusiastic application. Nottingham was the last university to get back me, so all my hopes were riding on them. Then, on my way home from school one day, I noticed the email. In a matter of a minute, I felt like my world had crumbled around me. Looking back at it now, I know it was an overreaction but all I could think about was that I had no backup plan. What would I do now?
I had received an offer to study biomedical sciences elsewhere in the country but I didn’t log onto UCAS for months, putting off the decision I knew I’d have to make eventually. True to form, I cut it awfully fine. It was ten days before the deadline for deciding on offers when I finally made the decision to reject the one and only offer I had received for the application into which I had put so much work. I don’t think I ever had to think about the decision, really; it was more a matter of working up the courage to accept that I would have to postpone all my plans for a year.
“Would you like a place at our Uni?”
Life went on as usual, with all of my focus now directed towards getting the best possible grades for my A-levels. I still remember it so clearly. I was sitting a couple rows back in the chemistry lab on a Thursday afternoon, learning about the very particular way that AQA like their curly arrows drawn. To my horror, Taylor Swift suddenly began singing an upbeat song, notifying me of an incoming call. Already thoroughly mortified, I ran out of the room. Lo and behold, it was Nottingham. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I had been put on a waiting list in the case of people (the lucky ones that receive more than two offers) rejecting their offer. It wasn’t until I rejected my other offer that they were notified by their system about my predicament. Then they asked me: ‘Would you like a place at our Uni?’… I didn’t really know how to reply. Should I say ‘Yes!’, ‘A million times yes!’, or ‘Is this a joke?’. In the end, I decided to just cry. Walking back into the classroom, everyone thought something tragic had happened, and the story was the talk of my year for a while.
Never give up
It all seems so crazy looking back, but it definitely makes for a good story. And the morale of this story: never give up on your dream. I could have quite easily compromised and I would be living a completely different life. Would I be happy, though? Life doesn’t always go to plan, but I believe that things work out eventually. Keep trying and you will achieve all that you’d hoped and more.