A long long time ago I passed my university exams, even longer ago I passed my secondary school exams. I do recall the nerves. Having to resit exams is an occasionally recurring nightmare. So what happens when you are in your forties and you have to sit an exam? Welcome to E-day.
Over the last few weeks my world has revolved around work and studies. I finally managed to convince my unit manager (my bosses boss) that I really really ought to do an in depth technical course for one of my projects. As the manager is of the opinion we work in a process and project management environment, he feels we should not need any knowledge of the projects at hand. I thoroughly disagree with this viewpoint, specifically if topics are of a deep scientific and technical nature. It took me a fair few months, some blisters on my tongue and a little help from the customers experience survey to finally make him see my point. My direct line manager (who was supportive) was most impressed, both by the fact that I managed to convince the big boss and my tenacity (aka pit bull attitude). But now I both needed to prove myself and I had to deliver!
With my eternal optimism I went in thinking I am just going to do this. It took about 5 minutes reading the book when it arrived to realise that this was not going to be some easy going thing, this was going to take time and effort. The classes were inspiring, but intense. It felt as if bucketloads (we are talking physics here) were offloaded in a dense beam of information, joined by some seemingly intricate complex formulations. Stunned silence was often the class response.
In total I had four days of class like this. In between on workdays and in weekend there was studying of the old-fashioned kind. Books, calculations and hairpulling. The last day was a trial exam and then a week of more study until the final exam. Through this period I actually slept quite well and though I could feel the tension I did manage to keep my walking and cycling up, thus ensuring enough relaxation for the “stuff” to settle.
The day before the exam; I went home early to study for another two hours, then went to my sewing class to take my mind off things. It was a relatively cold night and I arrived home tired and ready for bed. I needed a good night sleep. As I was ready to get to sleep I noticed that my feet were a little cold, so I wore my PJs and thick socks to counter this. After about an hour all I noticed were cold feet, slowly moving up to make me feel cold all over. Note that it was not cold! I was cold. After another hour my feet had ensured that I was awake. Thinking I need to sleep was obviously ensuring the opposite effect. I got mad and got up grabbing my hot water bottle and filling it with hot water. In rather not happy mood I returned to bed waking SO in the process.
I warmed up quickly but did not get off to sleep. All I heard was drip ……………… drip …………… drip. …………… drip …………….drip. Yes the tap was dripping. With a bit of a growl I got up again and went to the bathroom and closed the tap properly. I still remembered that this was a better option than to pull it out of the sink which was really what I wanted to do. My mood was clearly going downhill fast. I mean I needed to sleep and both my body and the plumbing were betraying my study efforts. SO was concerned but he knows me well enough that the best course of action is to let me simmer on my own and that is what he did. After that I did sleep reasonably well, but I did wake up feeling less rested than I would have wanted.
The next afternoon I went to my exam. Was I tense? You could say that again, but then again there were 15 of us being tense and we were all so ready to get this over and done with. 100 minutes later I stumbled out of the exam room. I felt drained and exhausted. It had been so long since I needed to sit an exam that long that intense. We were given a tour of the facility while our exams were graded. As soon as I heard that I had passed (with 82%) I collapsed. According to my tutor about 10 years fell off my shoulders. It sure felt like it.
Walking home was slow and a bit of a mission really. I just took a bath and SO ensured I could just curl up on the couch and forget about the sea of knowledge I had had to pour out that day. But I am proud that I did pass, I am happy how I did it. Easter weekend started well