There’s a kink in the road.

OK, first things first – I would like to apologise to the readers of this little diary. I have not posted anything for well over a year and I am truly sorry, let me explain what has been happening since we last met. I had a bit of a hiccup at the end of the third year – I failed the exams! Yes FAILED the exams which meant I had also failed the year – by 1%!

This time last year I was sitting in a boardroom facing four very senior members of RVC staff. I was in an Appeal Hearing fighting for the opportunity to repeat the third year of the BVet Med course. I questioned everything – can I still do this? Am I capable? Can I afford an extra year in education? Do I still want to do this? It was a very difficult time for me as you can imagine as it looked like the world I knew was coming to an end and I simply didn’t know what else I would do.

I am VERY pleased to report that I was given the opportunity to repeat the third year which I finished in July this year. I eventually passed the third year exams this time round and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see the results. As part of the Appeal Hearing I was able to have a Learning Differences Assessment by an educational psychologist. I know this sounds serious but it was something I had asked for. During the second year I had suspected I was dyslexic as I had noticed the areas in which I had struggled were very similar to those of dyslexic friends. The outcome of the assessment was that I was indeed classically dyslexic.

If I’m honest my first reaction when the assessor told me was to burst into tears. I think it was the relief that there was finally an explanation for why I was struggling. Then came the disbelief as I didn’t want to be ‘different’ but as I have had time to reflect on it I have actually embraced the news. The more I read about dyslexia the more I feel good about myself as it explains so much about how and why I did things the way I did at school for instance. It of course helped when the assessor said that dyslexic people are highly intelligent too!

When I had only just found out about my dyslexia I would tell people about it but was still a little embarrassed about it, mostly because people assume out of ignorance that it is a real disability for people. Undiagnosed it can hold people back from reaching their full potential but with the correct support and help I feel there are really no limits to what I can achieve. It wasn’t really until someone pointed it out to me that I thought I have actually done very well to gain two previous degrees and run a business all without knowing I was dyslexic. That explains why the tax returns took me two weeks to fill out!

Dyslexia affects people in many different ways, some people find reading very frustrating and words can actually seem as though they are moving around the page but for other people it may be as subtle as reading at a slower speed than other people but having never noticed it. Some dyslexic people have trouble with mental arithmetic whilst others are amazing at maths but struggle with English. The best way I can describe it is that it is like trying to drive down a road at 100mph but the dyslexia is a kink in the road ahead. The help and support from tutors trained to help dyslexic students helps to straighten that kink.

I actually enjoyed repeating the third year as I had ‘switched off’ last year and wasn’t able to take on board much of what was being taught – this time round I really got it and thoroughly enjoyed the whole year. In term 2 of third year we started with ophthalmology and neurology then went onto orthopaedics. I know I raved about how wonderful the brain is in a previous article but it truly is the most amazing organ in the body. It can be a very daunting subject to understand but I do thank the staff teaching us for their logical approach to it, it really did make it much more manageable.

Anyway, I will leave it there for now but next time normal service will be resumed as I will talk about what it was like to finally be starting the 4th year and how I got on doing a summer of ‘seeing practice’ with vets.