Today I wrote my last two exams for the summer session of classes I’ve been taking for my nursing degree.
I’d love to say that I’ve been studying my ass off for weeks, even days. But truth is, I’m a last-minute type studier, and even if I did start studying earlier than the night before, I wouldn’t remember what I read or memorized. I definitely work better under pressure.
Problem is though, when I do finally submerse myself in the material, I become so absorbed that life around me quite literally becomes a blur. I can’t even read anything that’s not related to the course. Last night, I tried unwinding by reading a few pages of “Eat, Pray, Love” and found myself trying to memorize a paragraph.
I’ll be sitting at supper with the kids. They’ll be talking to me, and I’ll be looking at their mouths moving, but coming out of them are, “A confidence interval is a range of values…”
I don’t sleep the night before the exam because my brain keeps reviewing. All on its own. It’s like I don’t even want to study anymore, but it’s listing off nursing values, bioethical principles, methods of statistical measurement. The few minutes that I do actually sleep, I’m dreaming that I’m studying.
I finally roll out of bed at the first sign of daylight, grab my books, and review all over again. Only now I’m freaking out a little bit, ’cause the stuff I’m reviewing, is not the same as the stuff my brain was enumerating during my sleep. So I’m like, where the fuck is the stuff from my dream?
My friend Jen will come over so we can review together. But she’s like Super Student, and while I’m digging through my two or three pages of hand-written notes on which I have random letters: S-H-E, which when I wrote these down I knew were meant to jog my memory of the three aspects of statistical validity, but by now I have no idea where these came from or what they’re supposed to mean, Jen is whipping out graphs, charts, typed out notes, pictures, all designed to make her even fucken smarter than she already is.
I have no idea how I get to the university. I’m pretty sure I drive myself. But by this point, I’m exhausted, scared shitless that I’ll fail, talking to myself, part “You can do this!” part “You stupid fuck, why didn’t you start studying sooner?” part “So if I pick C every time, there’s a statistical chance I’ll pass the exam” part “You stupid fuck, why didn’t you start studying sooner?”… yawn…. part “I think that was Jesus waving to me on the side of the road?”
The exam is the worst part. Eighty multiple choice questions all designed to prove what a complete tool I am, because I can’t even understand the fucken question, never mind trying to pick which of the five choices is the right answer. By the third question, I wonder what would happen if I ran from the room screaming. Would the prof run after me and tackle me down?
By the 46th question, I can’t even read anymore. I’m eenie-meenie-minie-moing my way through.
Somehow I complete the exam and manage to hand it in to the prof without wacking him over the head with it or stabbing his eyes out with my pencil.
But I’m free now. And hopefully, I’ve learned my lesson. Hopefully next semester I’ll start studying sooner.
Oh who am I kidding.