Test Anxiety

Time to come up for air. Monk’s been on a business trip in California since Sunday morning, which made freaking out and studying for the state exam a little trickier. I did turn off the phone, reward myself in the evenings with a beer ("well-studied, girl, good job on the last three hours"), and basically achieved a level of self-absorption that I haven’t seen since I was in class. But at the same time, I was monitoring the dogs’ interactions, feeding them (greedy little beasts), walking them (needy little beasts), cleaning up the house, taking out the trash and WHERE THE HELL IS THAT GUY WHO USUALLY DOES THIS STUFF FOR ME? Oh yeah, not here. Stupid work-sponsored seminars.

The weekend before last I tapped into my inner Procrastinator and re-did the “landscaping” in front of the house. Two nights ago around 9 p.m. I looked up from my textbook, mentally patted myself on the shoulder for being so dedicated to my studies, turned the page to move on to the respiratory system, and promptly went out to buy some shelves for our front hall closet, which had been a total disaster for quite some time. Apparently, there is no time like right in the middle of studying for a Very Important Test to get out the power drill and bring harmony and organization to one’s closet.

Last night I decided I was up to the gills with neurons, organs, etc., so I grabbed a beer and sat down to enjoy the sounds of what I suspect are mice, scurrying around in the attic. But I refused to think about this rerun of a rodent problem, the same way I mentally blocked Monk's stories of new business software and strategies when he called from his seminar yesterday- couldn’t allow any additional information into my consciousness, for fear of a brain implosion.

I planned to arrive early to the exam this morning and review the muscular system once more, but as I sat through four light changes in horrific traffic, I realized that was not meant to be. I showed up with a minute to spare, and the test anxiety showed up about ten questions into the test.

Now, besides doing all the studying (and filling in for Monk, dammit) over the last few days, I’d also calculated how many correct answers I had to give in order to pass the state exam. Passing the test, according to the State of Texas, is a minimum of 75%. This is unfortunate, since I was fairly confident in my ability to answer 60% of the questions correctly, a percentage I’d always thought of as a low, but still passing grade (at least it was in college- mom and dad are so proud). I also calculated how many questions I could answer incorrectly and still pass. Because this was apparently a necessary and brilliant use of my time over the last few days, I performed these calculations many times.

Once the test anxiety reached full throttle and my hands started shaking, I did the calculations again on my official-issue scratch paper. When the sweating started, I wrote down an estimate of how many I’d probably gotten wrong already. And then I wrote down how many of my answers were just wildly-thrown guesses. And then I got angry at how incomplete the test review from class had been. And then I remembered the review book I’d purchased outside of class to help me prepare, which had turned out to be nothing short of amazing.

About halfway through, frozen in the glare of The Big Exam, some fight-or-flight (this is a reaction that occurs in the Sympathetic Nervous System, by the way) switch was flipped in the ol’ noggin and instead of sobbing and throwing things and running out of the exam room into traffic, I kicked the remaining questions’ asses. And then I went back and kicked the asses of the questions from the beginning of the test. And god I love mixed metaphors and applied knowledge applied incorrectly. But anyway. We were told we wouldn’t get a number grade, just whether we passed or failed. Wrong (like so many other bits of information dumped on us during class and internship, tra la la). I did, in fact, receive a number score along with my pass/fail result. And if that number score were to be translated into a letter grade, it wouldn’t just be a ‘P’ for ‘Pass,’ it would be an ‘A.’ For ‘Ass-kicking.’ ‘Awesome.’ ‘Another beer, please.’

Next stop, the practical exam in Austin, where I prove I know how to lube and stroke like a true professional, while taking direction from -and maneuvering around- the cameraman. This is how I plan to explain the practical exam to my relatives, by the way.

On that note, I'd like to send a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY public internet shout out (shout-out?) to Skyhawk and my dad (public internet shout-outs being the ultimate sparkly bang in birthday wishes, of course). They not only have the same birthday, but also something even better: my obnoxious presence in their lives. Happy Birthday!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous skyhawk said...

Aww, thanks, Quinn... and CONGRATU-FREAKIN'-LATIONS!!!! :-)

4:57 PM  

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