This quarter I thought I’d talk about my recent experience back at nautical college. The very next day after my wedding in September I left my wife at home and I moved away to Southampton to attend warsash maritime college to undertake the academic learning, exams and prerequisite courses to become a Chief Officer.This was a 4 month course designed to ensure that I have the required underpinning knowledge and understanding to become senior management. In most cases the ‘students’ are company sponsored under some form of study leave agreement, some companies provide better study leave than others. Unfortunately for me I had to take 6 months unpaid leave to attend the course and as you can imagine this was less than ideal but a necessity to get ahead in my career. As such, I sought out to see if my situation could be supported by a charity or scholarship and found that the marine society and sea cadets offer such a scholarship. Initially I thought the MSSC only had the slater fund which give huge support to seaman and motormen wanting to become officers, an amazing scholarship, I have a number of friends who have benefited from it. From my enquiry to the MSSC I found I was eligible for the Worcester scholarship which provided me with £750 for my books and learning materials. This article is a formal thank you to them for their huge assistance, they really helped when I needed it most.I achieved the highest grade in one assignment that warsash’ most senior lecturer had ever given and the highest grade ever awarded by another senior lecturer. I passed all required written exams and tests and after months of effort, concentration and unbelievable stress I managed to fail my last exam…The dreaded oral exam… Me verses a notorious ex-captain working for the maritime and coastguard agency for over an hour and he could ask me ANYTHING…and he did! Lots of things that really through me off and things I really was not expecting but I held my own for the most part, but unfortunately a combination of nerves, misinterpretation of a question and blind panic when I realised this was the very last question resulted in me failing the exam. All is not lost, I shall retake this exam as soon as possible, the downside is that I’ve had to return to work out of rotation and have no idea when I can book my next exam for and there is a 3 month wait for exam slots! Moral of the story, pass first time!