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A most monumental academic cock-up

Lately my twitter and blog reader are inundated with chatter about end of year exams and graduation.  So this week I’m going to tell you the story of my most monumental academic cock-up…

Upon graduating from my BSc degree I was something like 2% away from a 1st and was called in for a viva for the opportunity to be upgraded.  The only problem was that I was 6,000 miles away at the time.

I don’t quite remember how this happened. I booked a trip for after my exams but realised later it was before the official end of the year (I swear this date was hidden deep in the small print).  I was not the only one; someone else ended up hugely out of pocket rearranging their holiday on the off chance they would be offered a viva.

I’m pretty sure The University of Leeds tell my story as a warning to other students; I will forever be the girl who could have got a first.  I knew I was a borderline first and I was devastated at the time; but do you know what?  I also knew I had done enough to secure a PhD, my main goal back then.

“Minimum effort, maximum output.”

Besides being reminded of my stupidity every time I write 2:1 on my CV, there has been no lasting damage.  I honestly have no regrets, who’s to say I would have even passed the viva?  I am proud and deserving of my 2:1 and there has to be a line drawn somewhere right? (well, ok we won’t get into that debate).  Having a first wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to the opportunities I have had; it has been the extra curricular/work experiences that have made a bigger impact on my career path.

Final year students take heed: it’s not over until the fat lady sings! Being on the 2:1 – 1st boundary is one thing but playing on the 2:2 – 2:1 boundary is a much riskier game.

What are your academic cock-ups? Share with #AcademicCockup

5 thoughts on “A most monumental academic cock-up

  1. At my old place after final exams, you were expected to report for potential viva on the last day of the academic year. The examiners would select the borderline cases and also take samples from the mid-range in each division as a benchmark for the borderline students. I remeber a woman on my course who seemingly thought she was borderline between a 1st and a 2(i). She needed the 1st to do a PhD.

    She bought an expensive new outfit and new shoes so she would beas presentable as possible to the examiners. The course leaders emerged from the examiner’s meeting and she walked forward. He pointed to the people they wanted to interview, looked her straight in the face and said “You’re not required for interview”. She was mid-2(i), there was no point in her being interviewed and she’d spent the money for nothing,

    Others who wern;t expecting interview were called for, turning up in just jeans and trainers were called forward witho a couple of upgrades from 2(ii) to 2() handed out, which made her feel all the worse. She was still able later after a year in work to proceed to a PhD, so all worked out in the end.

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