All my life I’ve always felt that I’ve had to work twice as hard as anyone else. Perhaps I was too hard on myself but I feel that I rarely achieved the result or grade that I set out to achieve and yet my brother only has to look at a book and always succeeds or so it seems. When I was younger I always felt that it was unfair and that there should be extra marks for effort.

The only exception to this rule was my degree. I set out to achieve a 2:1 and I did. But I remember standing in line, waiting for my name to be called on graduation day and I felt nothing for what I had achieved. I’ve thought about it a lot over the years. After all that hard work (include a 10,000 word dissertation) why did I not feel anything? I still don’t really know the real answer. Perhaps I knew then that I had made the wrong decision and that I would never really my degree in the future.

Now, things seemed to have changed. When I applied to go back to university to study music their only requirement was Grade 8 Music Theory.   This was only confirmed in February 2016. The next exam I could take before a September 2016 start dated was June 2016. That left me with three and half months to prepare and do ABRSM’s Grade 8 Music Theory.

Grade 8 Music Theory is the equivalent of A’ Level and undergraduate level and I had three and half months. How was I supposed to do this? This was one task I felt was truly impossible but I soldiered on. What other choice did I have?

About a week before the exam I rang my dad telling him that I would fail. That there was no way I was going to pass this exam it just was not possible in three and half months. He talked me round., as he always does, saying that I was just tired and overworked but to take the exam anyway and see what happens. After all it was already paid for.

Come exam day I was starting to get a cold but luckily the exam seemed easier than I thought it would be despite that added difficulty of it being in a freezing cold old school hall.

In the end it was the wait for the results that was the hardest. My future was completely dependent on it. I couldn’t plan anything past September because I had absolutely no idea what I would be doing.

About a month after the exam the results finally came through. I felt panicked. What if I hadn’t passed? I think I was probably more afraid that I would have to take the exam again than I was of deterring for another year.

As the results popped up on screen I could barely read them. I had convinced myself completely that I had failed and couldn’t understand the pass mark that now sat in front of me. After a moment of squeezing my dog for comfort, it finally sank in, and all I could do was sob. Actually, I think I was more relived that I wouldn’t have to take it again!

It was a long three and half months but that pass mark made it all worth it. I finally felt what I should have when I received my degree. I felt that all that effort hadn’t been wasted; I had earned that pass mark.

I now only have to wait a little longer to see whether the university has a place for me this September. For the first time in a long time, I finally feel that it’s all coming together…

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