Exam results day is the culmination of all of the hard work done to date and hopefully the confirmation of the fact that you’ll definitely be heading off to vet school, either this year or following a nice relaxed and interesting Gap Year. As such, there is rather a lot riding on it all and the stress can be quite overwhelming. I should know as I have been there.
The first thing to point out is the obvious fact that you will be nervous. Even if you’re Mr or Miss Super Cool and Unflappable, the mere fact that you don’t actually know what it says on that results sheet will lead to some nerves. Embrace it though and recognise the feeling of nervous anticipation. It is, however, important to realise when nervousness is morphing into panic and act to prevent it. At the end of the day there is nothing you can do at this stage to change the results and reminding yourself of this fact is useful. Reassure yourself that you have worked hard and that this hard work will be reflected in your results.
Preparing for the Big Day:
1. Get a good night’s sleep – such a mum and dad thing to say I know but its true. Being rested and alert on the day will enable you to either react swiftly and decisively if the results don’t pan out quite as you’d hoped or to at least savour and enjoy every moment of success assuming you do as well, or better, than expected.
2. Arrive early – if your results don’t come out as expected and it looks as though your conditional vet school offer is at risk then being one of the first to be able to ring the vet schools will place you in a much stronger position compared to being one of hundreds later in the day. Similarly, if your grades turn out to be stellar and you don’t have a place or were on a waiting list then getting straight on the phone as early as possible is the surefire way of turning that opportunity into ultimate success. Surely it’s worth getting up nice and early just this once 🙂
3. Take a list of the vet schools’ contact details, especially the Admissions Offices – having the essential information to hand, such as who to call, will save valuable time and could be the difference between being one of the first to get through to the vet schools or being in a frustrating queue. When you’re in a bit of an emotional state on results day, the last thing that you will want to be doing is scrawling through the internet looking for the correct telephone numbers to call. Do the legwork beforehand and save yourself the headache.
4. Charge your phone and ensure you have call credit – rather obvious you might say but you’d be surprised how many people will turn up to results day, need to or want to call someone and find that they can’t as they’re out of battery. How rubbish would it be if you were on the phone to a vet school admissions tutor and the phone cut out? Pretty rubbish is my assessment. Don’t let it happen.
The Big Day itself:
1. Eat something – you’re likely to be super nervous and as such not feel like eating. That would be a mistake. Your brain needs fuel to work properly and if you need to step to it and be all proactive in calling the vet schools then you’ll want your brain along for the ride. Feed it beforehand.
2. Check you have everything you need – charged phone, contact details (as above), car keys etc. I am bit of a nerd and so tend to set out everything I need the night before so I can see if I am missing anything. That way, on the morning in question I can simply scoop everything up safe in the knowledge that it’s all present.
3. Arrive early – not only will you get to open your results in relative peace without the entire school buzzing about but you’ll also be in a great position to act quickly if necessary and call the vet schools before half the world has the same idea. You can, of course, then stay on and enjoy the buzz as everyone else arrives to get their results – after all, it’s potentially a great day of solidarity and celebration between friends so should be enjoyed.
4. Opening your results – the MOMENT OF TRUTH! Take a deep breath, relax and embrace the reality 🙂 I remember time slowing right down and the words and letters taking a few moments to really come into full focus, and then for my brain to compute them. What I remember really feeling, more than elation, was just pure relief. Relief that I had done what I had set out to do by getting the required grades and confirming my place, and also relief that I hadn’t let anyone down. As daft as that last statement might sound I don’t think I was, or am, alone in feeling that way. We place so much pressure on ourselves and the expectations placed on us, either real or imagined, from everyone around us is often huge. As such, when I saw my results I just thought “phew!” It doesn’t mean to say I didn’t enjoy the fact that I had achieved something big, just that the response was a bit more complex.
What if you do better than expected?
First of all pat yourself right there on your back – you legend! If you have not got an offer from a vet school then get on the phone immediately and see if that situation can be changed – you owe it to yourself to try, right?! Otherwise you may have another plan in place, in which case good luck and enjoy the rest of your summer.
What if I miss out on my conditional offer?
I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to any of you as I know the crushing disappointment that comes with not achieving what you really had your heart set on. First of all, expect to ride a huge wave of emotions, from disbelief, to bitter disappointment, to anger and many more emotions still. Again, the key is to get on the phone immediately to the vet school that you have an offer from and see whether you can still take up the place. Sometimes the schools will have liked you so much that they are prepared to look past the black and white nature of your results – the only way you’ll know is to ask the question, so get on it. If you are not successful then your options at this stage are to either take a Gap Year and reapply, take up a place doing another non-vet course at uni, or do something totally different instead.
So, there you have it. A potted guide to how to handle what can be the single most stressful day of your academic career (so far). All that remains to be said is GOOD LUCK and ENJOY YOURSELVES 🙂