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My path to Finals: Part two

Last week I wrote about the commitment I had made to attempt to become a veterinary surgeon. I had spent ten years of my life sacrificing all fun to achieve my dream to join this amazing profession.

At last it was nearly over: just the Finals to face.

I had studied every day, seven days a week until late into the evening for months. I had barely been outside except to attend lectures and to get food. I knew every brick on the wall of the building opposite, each associated with a new Latin word I had memorised. I listened to classical music to soothe me, and aid my concentration. When I hear certain pieces they still bring back to me memories of particular diseases I must have been learning.

I stood outside the exam hall for the last summer of tests, with an immense sense of dread. What if it all was not enough? I still dream of this moment, waking in a sweat.

The exams themselves were the worst I had ever experienced. We had to choose to write five essays from only six choices on any part of what we had studied in the last six years. We had three hours, and then did it again in the afternoon. This went on for days. We were thoroughly tested.

Then, as if this were not bad enough, we faced the Vivas. Just me, in a room with five other experienced qualified vets, my teachers. No place to hide, every word assessed. It was terrifying. I clench up now remembering it. In comparison, the Practicals were easier. At least there was an animal I could stroke as I thought out my answers to the probing questions.

But at last it was all over. A few other vet students and I waited in the sunshine for the results to be posted, as was traditional, on the wall of the Senate House building in central Cambridge for all to see. I have a photo of us, floating in a punt in the limbo between being a student Vet, and having all my dreams come true.

You know the result.

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