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Travelling can improve your grades. FACT.

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Planning a holiday whilst studying for your exams – procrastination or an investment? I am a medical student who has played guinea pig to this dangerous experiment, and won. Conclusion being: this form of procrastination can fuel studying far better than any Pro-Plus/coffee cocktail I know. 

WARNING – this is not for the faint hearted.

REQUIREMENTS – guts, optimism and, ideally, a student loan

HOW TO – keep reading.

Call me crazy, but wanderlust is one of the symptoms to the infamous, infectious, chronic condition of the ‘Travel Bug’ - something that I suffer from in the most severe form following a volunteering expedition to Kenya in 2013. 

In 2014, my sister booked a four-month round the world trip with her childhood friend - I jumped at the opportunity to accompany them; unfortunately, in my second year of uni, I had exams separating me from the airport runway. Any normal person would accept this, move on and focus on their exams – not me. I knew I HAD to work out a way to get on that plane and pass my exams.

The travel bug has variable presentations. As a patient with the severe form, this resulted in the impulsive decision to book flights a month before my exams, putting me out on the peninsula – vulnerable. I had risked a small fortune on flights with the risk of having to cancel the entire trip if I failed my exams as I would be away over the resit period. I didn’t even know if I would get my results before I was airborne.

You must be reading this thinking I’m a complete nutter, right? Well, what’s worse is that the pass mark is around 70%, from 6 exams over 5 days. Forget nuts, I’m one of two things: (1) someone who has lost the plot or (2) someone who has the courage to be out on that peninsula with the odds against me. (Maybe a bit of both).

So, what has all this lunatic behaviour got to do with exam results?

It turns out that the excitement from this ordeal is like a natural amphetamine which legally fuelled my studying for the deathly exams, with a street value of a round the world flight. The gamble I had put myself in paralleled itself with a massive amount of unknown motivation to power me through the final month of studying. The fear of having to cancel this once in a lifetime opportunity proved worse than the fear of failing my exams; forget Red Bull and Pro-Plus, this is the real secret to power through the studying and hit the high percentages.

And the result?

Only a mere 24 hours before my flight was due to hit the sky I had discovered I had passed my exams. I had achieved the unachievable and what I had accomplished has evidenced that courage to be bold and go out on that peninsula is a risk worth taking a hundred times. That feeling of victory, defying the odds after months of pain and suffering – the irony of studying medicine – was without a doubt the most incredible moment of my life.

I bet you don’t know many 20 year olds that have the guts to do what I did, but I strongly encourage any of you reading this to take the risk that I did – go out on that peninsula, make yourself vulnerable and discover the fuel that (coupled with studying) will help you pass your exams. And remember, you can leave the Pro-Plus and Red Bull at home. 

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