If at first you don’t succeed..
I applied a grand total of THREE times before I was even offered an interview. As heart breaking as each rejection was, it made my subsequent application stronger.
I had no extenuating circumstances; I just didn’t do very well first time round. I had no idea that moving schools to retake year 12 would result in unis refusing to even look at my application. I suppose it seems silly now looking back but I wanted to be a dentist so badly I guess I didn’t even allow myself to think it would be an issue.
Unfortunately, I had the rude awakening at a university fair. I put my hand up in a seminar held by a representative for all dental unis in the UK. He picked me first.
“will my chances of getting into uni lessen because I have retaken my first year of a levels?”
“Don’t even bother applying”
He was looking for the next waving arm in the audience whilst responding disinterestedly to my question. I left the fair without speaking to another person and cried the whole way home.
Needless to say, I picked myself up and went to university to study Biomedical Science. With my dental career at the forefront of my mind, I graduated with a 1st class degree. However, my application for dentistry was rejected again.
I dusted myself off again and studied my personal statement. With no other career path interesting me, I decided to spend the next year filling in the gaps in my PS which contributed to the failure of my application. Strangely, when I was writing the application I was blind to the flaws. But looking at it with a fresh perspective allowed me to see how terribly bland it was.
I then reluctantly dove into the world of work. I hated it. Working in places you couldn’t see a future in, watching all your friends starting their exciting careers and getting promoted within weeks of finding their ‘calling’. Then there was me, was washing and labeling hundreds of PET bottles for minimum wage in a lab where no one knew each other’s names. I went for so many interviews for meaningless jobs – including a position to scrub hair and blood off of medical instruments (a degree being necessary requirement for the role).
I was then hit with another bombshell that graduate entry dentistry was being phased out. This was due to new guidance for the number of hours of training a student should complete before graduating, putting pressure on universities to stop their graduate entry programs. After finding a steady job in microbiology lab, I applied a final time and gave the application everything I had.
I studied my bum off for the UKCAT, read as many dental articles and blogs as I could get my hands on and finally managed to translate on paper why I deserve a place.
I suppose my take-home message would be: Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. And if you still find yourself at a loose end, well… try again.