Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thought Processes

The Testing Center intimidates the fetch out of me.  Why you might ask?  Well let me go all therapist/patient on you.  IT'S MY PARENTS FAULT.

Before I came to BYU, my parents had a favorite story to tell me.  Actually they have lots of these favorite stories.  Always warning stories, "you know who else didn't clean her room?  Jenna.  Do you know where she is now?  DEAD."  Like every time I drive through the intersection of 27th and Highland Papa Jim MUST tell me about the time our neighbor got T-boned there.  "Now Sierra, you know this is the intersec... YES DAD.  I KNOW"  And then I speed up and pretend to ignore oncoming traffic.  I love our conversations.

Luckily for me they also have a story revolving around the testing center, so I could be sufficiently cowed and terrified before I walked in.  Apparently a cute charming charismatic boy from our ward didn't just get IN TROUBLE (enough to scare me right there) but got KICKED OUT and got A ZERO on a test for goofing off.  And by that point I'm curled in a fetal position on the floor because an embarrassing spectacle, disapproval, and bad grades?  Sweet lanta just kill me already.

Now I've already made it through a semester and taken more than a few tests, in fact, I even got away with wearing leggings during one test; so when I walked in on Monday, the trepidation levels were minimal.  Which means of course it's time to wreak havoc with my irrational fears.  Hello brain.  It's been awhile.

I'd lost my calculator a few days before but that was no problem right?  Really.  It would be fine because I could rent a calculator.  Everyone says so.  (But what if they're out of calculators?  What if they really don't have calculators?  What if they laugh at me and I have to walk of shame home past everyone in line?) NO.  It will be Oooooohhh Kaaaayyyy.  Breathebreathebreathe.

Luckily they really did have calculators for a mere 50 cents, so I took one, found an open desk, and sat down.  Halfway through taking my test I realized that my calculator, you know, that piece of plastic I'd sweated over getting actually didn't. work.  Whenever I tried to multiply or divide the calculator added a few zeros.  5 divided by 10 became 5 divided by a thousand.

Crap.  Crap crap crap.

(Am I allowed to stand up if I'm not done with my test?  What if they think I'm going to look at notes and cheat when I'm really only going to exchange a calculator?  Do I take stuff with me?  Do I raise my hand?  I DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO LOOK AT ME)

I kept the calculator.

I know, I know.  Pathetic.  Just wait.

Because, I rationalized, I can just move over the decimal points by two places.  No problem.  I can handle this.  Crisis averted.

Then I left the center, studied for an hour, and returned to take another test.  This time they gave me a working calculator and didn't even charge me for it because it came with the test.  I sat down under a large poster that read "KEEP YOUR BACKPACKS COMPLETELY UNDER YOUR DESK AND DON'T OPEN THEM AT ANY TIME" Normal.  

Things were going my way.  Until I opened the pocket of my backpack where I always keep my pencil.  The pencil I'd had less than two hours ago to take my other test.  It wasn't in there.

Crap.  Crap crap crap crap.

(I know it's got to be in my backpack somewhere! If I just keep looking through it... But what about that poster?  They're going to kick me out for peaking at a cheat sheet!  Why is the sound of looking for a pencil so dang loud in this deathly silent hall??  Why am I freaking out about this?  It HAS to be there!  ...  It's really not there.  Should I stand up?  Should I raise my hand?  Do they rent pencils too?  And then there's the whole issue of OH MY GOSH PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO LOOK AT ME)

I took the test with a spare piece of lead.

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