Finals week. Oh, my God! Deliver me from grad school. I kiss the feet of any professor that does NOT give a final. But this one does . . . and though it's an on-line final, it's still a test. A test called a final. A final worth triple the points of any written assignment. Short answer questions. Two huge essay questions. A variety of multiple choice questions. Interestingly, I do far better on the essay questions. I tend to over-think the multiple choice -- or in some cases -- read them completely wrong and I always miss a couple. Even when I honestly do the know the answers.
I have huge test anxiety. Couch-potato analysis would attribute it to my grade school years. I have never been a good speller, it is NOT an innate talent for me: I don't hear the letters, I never learned phonics, and in grade school the weekly tests were always spelling tests. I failed a good many of those. I hated memorizing the words . . . so I didn't. I could define them. I just couldn't spell them. Then there were geography tests and I'm not very good with maps, either. And math tests. I failed almost every one of those from fifth grade on until someone (my grandmother) realized when I got to high school that I never learned my multiplication tables.
So huge test anxiety. Sweaty palms. Heart palpitations. Sleepless nights. Stomach aches. I get them all.
Studies show that one of the common nightmares among adults is about not showing up at the right time for a test. I go one step further and in my recurring nightmare of the last 30 years, I have enrolled in a grad school class but then forgot to show up until it was time to test. Then I remember I need to attend the class so I drive to campus and can't find a parking place or the the right building or the right classroom -- and when I finally get to the testing room, with only 20 minutes left on the clock, I open the test booklet to discover I also forgot to read the text and I can not answer a single question. Every time I've had this dream I've always awakened KNOWING that I have my masters and that I never need to go back to grad school. You can imagine my delight in being back after a twenty-five year absence.
The final is Thursday. It is open book, it is web-based, there are only two essay questions and I've done all the research on the reviews offered by the professor. Over the weekend I finished off the last three papers for the class. Now, all I've got to do is endure the test terrors that will overtake me until the last question is finally answered.