This update has been hanging over my head for a month, waiting to be written. I know a lot of you already know this turn of events, but I wanted to update those who hadn’t heard. Unfortunately, Gabriel failed two of his final exams this spring. This means he did not graduate as a vet and will not be able to work as a vet until he passes those exams.

This felt like a major glitch in his professional life when it happened in May. He’d worked so hard for so long only to be told he couldn’t finish yet. We decided to carry on as planned to move back to Ontario in June, since we had already bought plane tickets, living expenses are so much less there, and we were really, really sick of Dublin and UCD. (The former doesn’t deserve our feelings. The latter could go somewhere dark and smelly forever and we wouldn’t cry, as long as it’s after Gabriel graduates.)

He’s currently back in Dublin for the month of July, redoing rotations in the modules that he failed. He’ll then return to Ontario and work as a vet tech at the clinic where he had signed on this past winter. In November, he’ll retake the exams.

A lot of people have asked how he could fail finals when he passed everything up until now. We aren’t really sure. Several things play into it. His studies suffered on account of his family, we know that. He expected to be able to bluff khis way through any knowledge gaps he might have had, and that didn’t work on the oral exams he failed.  He felt he was well prepared going into it, but obviously he missed some things. Of course we’d like to say the oral exams were subjective (he knows he wasn’t in the bottom of the class academically), but we know there’s no use pointing fingers now. He’s bending over backwards to please these people and learn what he needs to know to pass in November.

Another frequent question has been why retake the exams in November? Why not take them while he’s there in July? That would be the logical thing to do, and any other year he would have, but this year the school changed its policy to allow retakes only in November and May. It sucks, but there’s no changing it. He went to the dean of the vet college and literally begged (Do you realize what this means for me financially to lose a vet’s pay for another three months and pay for another airline ticket across the ocean? As a husband and father to be gone another two-three weeks?). But she couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything to change it, although she assured him how sorry she was.

His first day of remediation was yesterday. He said he did a lot of running around doing other people’s dirty work, and nothing related to the subject he failed (small animal clinical exams). Wouldn’t that be disheartening? You can pray for him when you think of us. Also, you can pray for the five other students who failed final exams. Some of them also had jobs lined up, and not all of them have the immense support system Gabriel does (God, family, solid friends to lean on).

It’s a bitter disappointment, yes it is. I don’t recall the last time I prayed so fervently for something to change and God so directly said, “No.” This summer it looks like the only thing to do is to keep my hand in God’s and watch to see how he redeems this situation.

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