The Life of an MW Student – Thirty Four

Results day is looming. Remember the sense of calm I mentioned last month? No, nor do I. I’ve been getting gradually antsier as D-Day draws nearer. I can understand why they tell us the date we should expect results – just imagine being flooded with enquiring emails from neurotic students asking about it.

I have a very clear memory of results day last year. I had promised myself in advance that I would only check my phone once every hour (the results come in by email). By midday, this had descended into a pattern of constant refreshing of my email inbox. Mercifully, the email arrived just after 12:00. I felt my stomach drop and opened it. When I saw that I had passed all five theory papers, I immediately screamed and threw my phone across the room. I hadn’t expected to pass the practical papers, so that result didn’t matter to me – I was almost hysterically happy.

No matter what this year’s result (readers of last month’s column will know I am not optimistic), I will be celebrating the huge relief it will bring.

I am going to be at my favourite restaurant in the world, on the Tuscan coast. From the outside, you might think it is something like a beach shack, with its plastic chairs and tables, paper tablecloths clipped on to protect against the sea breeze. There’s zero dress code, and sitting at your table wearing a shirt thrown hastily over your swimming costume and sand between your toes is perfectly acceptable. In the ten years I’ve been visiting, the menu has barely changed, and the staff are always the same.

We’ll order a bottle of Vermentino – the area’s best white grape variety. Its citrus-salt profile makes the perfect match to a plate of impossibly delicious shrimp tagliarini and then a fritto of squid, prawns and tiny little fish. After the meal a caffe corretto – that’s espresso spiked with grappa – will set me up perfectly for a soothing swim in the sea and snooze on the beach. Calm will finally descend.

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