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Jump in the Pool

January13

jump in the pool

Taking risks is a part of life that we can either embrace or continually shy away from. These last few days have felt rather surreal and they will forever be a reminder of why sometimes the precarious choices are the best ones. If my future self ever reverts back to sitting around the pool of life, hesitantly dipping my toe in now and then, this memory will give me impetus to jump right in.

On Saturday, I received an unconditional offer to study English Literature at the University of Cambridge. I did not quite believe it at first and my excitement has made sleeping for the last two nights nearly impossible. But all of these feelings, the anxious thoughts, the ambitious daydreams, the keen research, are all a consequence of a risk that I dared to take last year. After my first year of Sixth Form, I was set on the fact that I would take a Gap Year: I had seen the positive effect it had on my older brother and I wanted to broaden my horizons and break out of the bubble full-time education can create. My first time applying to university was both good and bad; there were disappointments and successes. I was rejected by Oxford without an interview but received offers from two great universities: Exeter and Nottingham. By the end of the year, I had accepted Exeter and Nottingham was my insurance.

Before I knew it, it was summer and A Level exams were upon us but throughout the revision and the talk of UCAS and university, one question lingered at the back of my mind: should I re-apply to ‘Oxbridge’? I was already taking a Gap Year so I definitely had the option, without having to drastically change my plans. When it was time to finally make the decision, I was incredibly hesitant. In order for me to apply to Cambridge the following year, I had to decline my offer from Exeter. This was a dilemma; Exeter is an excellent university and everyone I spoke to told me how amazing it was and there was no way of knowing if I would even get into Cambridge. But I took the risk, and it paid off.

The most miserable way you could spend life would be allowing your fears to forge your future and your doubts to dictate your destiny. I find it amazing that new-born babies have reflexes that simulate swimming when placed in water. This only convinces me more that human beings were not created for life on the sidelines; there is an inherent longing for adventure and an instinctive resourcefulness that makes us swim and not sink – even at the most vulnerable stage of our lives. Choosing to jump in the pool taught me invaluable life lessons and has resulted in one of my greatest achievements so far. My next step: diving in the ocean.

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