Have you ever wondered what happens to those students that enrol very late, like February or March or even later? I am one of them.
I underestimated the IMAT, believing that I would surely get in, merely because my educational career had always proceeded smoothly and I could not see a reason why something would go wrong this time. When the ranking came out, I realized I had been an idiot and that I had most likely jeopardized my chances to start studying medicine that year.
I instead enrolled in “Biotechnologies” in a university close to my hometown and tried to forget about the IMAT and anything medicine-related. After months of biotechnologies, I received an email saying that I had been assigned to Sapienza, University of Rome. My reaction to this news was indescribable and soon after I decided to drop out of biotechnologies to pursue a dream that I had believed was long gone.
I thus enrolled in February, during exam session, so I had to wait about a month for classes to start back in March. In the meantime, I pulled my life together, found a room in an apartment, bought first semester books and moved to Rome.
The first day of class started as a nightmare. I arrived to class much earlier so I had to wait outside for a good 40 minutes. At that point, three girls showed up and we realized we all were new students that had just enrolled and never been to any classes. By then class should have started, but there was no one else and in my head I started panicking and regretting leaving biotechnologies. It turned out that class had been cancelled and every single student had been informed but us because we weren’t on the first semester list of students. The rest of the day went by really well, classes were interesting and my classmates made me feel welcome as if I had always been one of them, and so the second semester started.
While going to second semester classes, I emailed every single professor from first semester to find out how to make up for what I missed and for my attendance to their lectures (attendance is mandatory and you may not allowed to sit an exam if you did not go to class). All of the professor were really nice and understanding: some allowed me to sit their exams in spite of my lacking attendance, while others provided us with possibilities to make up for it by going to labs or special lectures.
The following months were pretty busy as I tried to compensate for what I missed while also learning new things, but it turned out to be one of the most gratifying periods of my life. I spent most of my days in the school library, finally studying what I really liked, and when exam time came, I aced pretty much all of them. I was able to sit five exams in June-July and the last two in September, finishing in time to start second year with no first year exam left behind. My fellow “late-starters” were also able to make up and sit exams scoring very well in most if not all of their exams.
I decided to write this post to let people like me know that starting late is tough and requires determination but that it is definitely possible and doable and that I don’t regret any step of it, because it gave me the awareness of what we are capable to do when we put our minds to it. Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation just like mine, don’t give up easily because both your new classmates and professors will understand your struggles and you may even be able to surprise them, as well as yourself with what you are capable to do when it comes to your passion.