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The Application

How to keep cool and plan your life when you’re on a GEM waiting list

So, it’s no secret that I was placed on the Nottingham waiting list for 2020 Graduate Entry Medicine. I was originally 25th.

At first I was a bit disheartened but welcomed the fact that I wasn’t closer to the 100’s as Nottingham can operate with high numbers on their waiting lists each year. I found it comforting to know that Sarb reassured me that I could email her when I wanted and as much as I liked to find out if it had moved.

Initially, I didn’t really feel like I had a chance and got on with life as normal. Occasionally there would be news on TSR to say that someone had an offer and that they are number X originally. I was able to predict where I would be/ how many places I’d loved. Almost weekly, I would email Sarb for an update, who by the way, I have found to be lovely and extremely efficient! I dread to think how many emails she gets daily from waiting list-ers asking where they are!

Over the weeks my position slipped down to 17th, then to 11th, then to 9th and as of last week, I was 8th. Yesterday, I was informed that someone had enquired about movement and that the list had moved by 20 places. Making me 5th.

The course is due to start on the 7th September and the list will be used until then. With quite a steady movement and at times a rapid drop, it began to seem realistic that the list will move 5 places in 26 days. I also learned that SGUL hadn’t made their offers unconditional yet, meaning that there could still be Nottingham insurance offers being held by their students.

“Shit! How can you cope with the stress and uncertainty of it all?” – text from my mum, yesterday.

I think GEM applications have always been filled with stress and uncertainty from day 1. You work so hard for something and when you’re placed on a waiting list, it’s easy to think it’ll never happen and then life throws you some optimism as a reminder that actually, you COULD make it.

So what am I doing to prepare for a possible place at Nottingham?

I’ve spoken to my landlord to let him know of my circumstances. He’s very chill and happy to be kept in the loop. I’d love to stay where I am but who knows if I can juggle a commute/ few days in Derby and keep my life where I am too.

I’m speaking to my manager/ work. Again, she’s very good to me and I’d love to give a decent amount of notice but of course we don’t know that yet. In the ideal world, I would be able to keep my job. My manager is also a reference. So providing Nottingham check them all (academic and work experience references) then my manager may already know before me about my offer.

I’m going to the bank on Friday to talk about them taking on my car finance (bank loans/ consolidation loans from your bank are at a much, much lower interest rate). This will ensure I can keep my car as I only have 2 years left to pay it off and the cost will be cheaper to manage on my student wage. I’m fortunate to have already applied for Student Finance.

I’ve looked at my options for parking and found it to be reasonably priced. I’ve also considered the options for accommodation/ hotels/ air bnb/ b&b. If I’m only in a few days which are consecutive, I’ll commute and stay over. I don’t want to be paying for accommodation/ rent for a property that I won’t use in my first semester/ term.

Now you wait?

Yep! Now I wait. A lot of things I’ve done are just to let people know/ keep them informed of my situation. I can’t really make any firm, life changing plans just yet. However, I hope I’ll be as ready as I’ll ever be, should I get an offer.

Do you really think you’ll get an offer?

I’m being cautiously optimistic but yes. I do think I will get an offer. I’ll believe it when I see it but I do think my chances are very good. I never thought it would come to the low, single digits of the waiting list and I dread to be that person who is at number 1 and never gets a place. Medicine is tough, especially GEM. I think I’ve done bloody well for a ‘practice’ application!

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