One call away from Cambridge

I had a fully-funded Masters offer from Cambridge, but I had to achieve a certain score in my History finals in order to get in.

I didn’t hit the required mark (missed by 2%). So I rang around the other universities on my list, and managed to get into Nottingham – a fantastic place in its own right, and in many ways a more suitable place for me at that time.

A year later, I bumped into the guy who would have been my supervisor at Cambridge and told him this story.

He was shocked: “Why on earth didn’t you call and ask if you could come anyway?”.

Good question. Back then it seemed obvious – someone else set the rules, so I played by them…

Ten years later, I don’t really believe in accepting parameters set by other people. I was told directly by senior colleagues that I had no chance of success when considering my last two jobs. I’m ten years older and maybe twenty years more bloody-minded :)

I may not have gone to Cambridge, but I did learn an awful lot.

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