(Written retrospectively)

I am not sure that I have quite ever stared at my phone so intensely. If it rings – I’m stuffed really. If it doesn’t – I think I should have passed. But to check…of course I’ll refresh my university email ever 60 seconds. Ridiculous for a few reasons. Number 1 – I am an old hand at this – 30 years old and on my third degree…I should be used to the waiting. But you never are. Number 2 – it’s 4.30am on the morning of my medical school final results. Friday June 14th to be precise. It’s amazing how an idea can grip an individual. I was obsessed and in the darkness of night it is fascinating how the mind mends and twists the simplest of ideas.

“I’ve failed”

“I’ve failed”

“I’ve failed”

My mind wouldn’t let go of that fact. As I twisted and turned in bed in an effort to shake off the thought I just couldn’t. I am not one for whimpering and so in the dead of night, with my mind set on failure, I opted to develop a script to let me parents know and develop a “plan B”. Telling the parents was easy because they are the most supportive people in my life alongside my brother and so I knew that would understand. But do you do it slowly or quickly…like the old adage of a plaster on a child. I don’t like faff so opted (in my mind) to tell them quickly and then swiftly explain my Plan B.

Developing a Plan B at 5am, sleep deprived and stressed is quite interesting. Your mind is free to be creative in the darkness and I like that. You are not cluttered by sights and sounds of the day, phones ringing and tasks to be accomplished being thrown at you. So out the creative juices came and for me at least, I realised that I did have a plan B. Ok – it might raise a few eyebrows but in theory – it made me happy at the thought of it…

A personal trainer in New York.

There – I said it. To me that was perfect – I love helping someone with their lifestyle and seeing someone achieve what they want (and to hell with anyone else as long as the goal is healthy and not to the detriment of others of course), I love New York, I have the skill set…AND…I’m British – now I am sure that is a good recipe for success on the East Coast!

As the hours ticked through into morning I decided to get up and at 8am was met by anxious parents who attempted to casually ask if I had heard anything. Although the ruthless part of me (I get that from mum….sorry mum!) wanted to say “”What do you think!” as I peered over bloodshot eyes holding an iphone that was constantly being tapped for refreshed email without even looking – my thumb now with enough muscle memory to find the email icon after the past 4 hours…Instead I smiled a just said not yet.

The next 2 hours and 58 minutes were a timeless blur of walking up and down the living room, pretending to watch “Location Location Location” (although they did have a great house up for grabs and nearly saw me drift into a plan B 2.0 as a property mogul in my mind at least), and press ups to steal away my nervous energy.

And then there it was “BM Finals Results” from the “Assessments and Exams at Medicine”.

It’s interesting how people react differently at these points. I have friends who didn’t open them for hours. For me, my mind was empty and I just hit open.


I digested for a second, unsure of if I had misread it, – a bit like when you consider whether that selective sniff you just gave the milk bottle tells you that your analysis is right – milk is good to drink. “Pass…Yes – that’s definitely good”.

What I should probably add is that for the last 30mins leading up to the result email I had rather pathetically opted to crawl back under the duvet and to the comfort of that darkness I had befriended since 4.30am…And So, with that the email digested I slowly stepped out bed, afforded myself a moment to smile to myself at the thought of completing my third (and definitely final) degree by thirty and then stepped onto the landing of my parent home and shouted “PASS!!!!!!”.

Nothing more to be said.

The rest is history – the personal celebrations with parents, phone calls to family and friends and just a lot of sitting and staring as I thought about the many adventures that lay ahead with medicine and with life.

If you think I over-reacted while waiting for my email, I can see that, but I have no regrets – it’s times like that which teach us about ourselves and it’s life lessons and memories like that which I will never stop chasing…

As for my plan B in New York…never say never đŸ˜‰


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