Saturday, February 12, 2011
The Panic of Waiting
I scheduled the test for 0800 and received instructions to bring my a printed copy of my test code and my driver's license and be there by 0730 to check-in and start on time. I printed everything out the night before and of course the damn printer ran out of ink before I got all the pages printed, so after a cartridge change and 2 more tries I got it. I went to boot camp and as usual with the cold weather, my truck doors froze shut, so I made a mental note to check the doors at 0630 on test morning to make sure I could get in -- I did, no major problems.
Got to the test center on time and waited to check in. As if I and the other eight or so people weren't nervous enough, they all but patted us down and drew blood beforehand. They called my name and I had to get fingerprinted, have my photo taken and have a venous palm scan. I was then asked to remove my watch and any jewelry (no scarf) and place it in a locker. They then asked me to roll up my sleeves, pull the front pockets of my jeans inside out and turn around stick my hands in my back pockets and prove there was nothing in there but my hands. The monitor then gave me a dry erase board that I was not allowed to erase anything on and I was not allowed to write anything on until the test began. Writing on the board ahead of time is brain dumping and is considered cheating. There would be a camera above me monitoring me the entire time and if I wanted a break I had to raise my hand and wait for a monitor to come escort me out of the test room. I was not allowed to get on my phone, use a computer or leave the building. The monitor asked if I had any questions and then escorted me to the computer.
Now, I was nervous of course, when the day started, but after all that I could feel my heart just banging in my chest, my palms weren't sweaty, they were drenched. My ears were hot and it was hard to hear. My level of anxiety was right below that of an attack and I was about to take the biggest test of my life. This was gonna be rough.
I took my time going through the tutorial and tried to calm down, but my heart just kept hammering. My stomach was on fire by this point and I didn't know what else to do, but begin the test. I repeated positive affirmations over and over " You can do this. You are gonna pass this test." Nothing was working. I can't even remember the test question at this point, not that I could repeat it anyway, but it wasn't as easy as I hoped it would be and I couldn't decided if it was because I wasn't sure or my brain was just so panicked. I somehow got through the first 25 with a few "select all that apply," which is a very high level question, so that's a good thing. I checked the clock on my computer, one hour had passed! I had been taking my time, but this was crazy. If I only did 25 an hour, I would only get through 150 questions. There were as many as 265! I would never get through all the questions. I had to be found competent in as few as possible.
I raised my hand at that hour mark and took my break. We had been told to take the breaks when we were ready, not when they offered. I was escorted out of the room and had a venous palm scan done again before I exited. I went to the bathroom and tried to collect myself. It didn't happen. I was not gonna get it together today. I started thinking I was gonna fail this and how it was gonna ruin everything and how upset my parents would be. I got a grip as best I could and re-entered the computer lab. They checked my sleeves and pockets again and did the venous palm scan. After, being escorted back to my computer again, I sat down and forced myself through the next 25, continuing to take my time and even writing a few things on my board. I started making slash marks for all the "select all's" I was getting quite a few. I used that to give me hope that I was doing well, trying not to jump up and run out of the lab. Got 50 and took another break, went to the bathroom again, checked-out and back in. Two hours gone by.
The last 25 were no easier or worse than the other 50. I had taken around 15 "select all's" and only one math. Those were good signs. I remember the 75th question was pretty easy and just like that when I clicked "next" -- It shut off!!! I had taken the minimum amount of questions. I just didn't know if it was because I was competent or completely incompetent. I thought to myself "there is no way the computer, could tell I was that stupid in 75 questions. I know I am smart enough to at least make the computer work harder than that to figure me out."
I left feeling sick to my stomach. I was shaking, my heart was still pounding and now after 3 hours my chest was hurting too. I drove home near tears, thinking I failed. I felt there was so many I had guessed at and never seen before, even with the review class.
I logged on to the website to see if it would let me register again to take the test. Unofficially, if you can register that means you failed and if you can't that means you passed. I pushed credit card and it allowed me to continue on with registration. I broke down crying. It was letting me register. I called A and explained what had happened, mildly hysterical and completely panicked. He tried to calm me down, but nothing doing and then I realized, I hadn't logged into my account. The site didn't know it was me. It thought I was a first time user! Still panicked I logged in and tried to register. It wouldn't let me. It was an unofficial way of saying I passed, but I had w,orked myself up so bad I still believed I failed.
I thought I would feel better after that, knowing I had taken the test and it was over finally, but it was worse, the waiting, the wondering. The rest of the day my thoughts were consumed with the idea of failing. I talked to my dad and he tried to reassure me, but nothing worked. I found out he even called A to come over and try to relieve some of my anxiety and calm me down. I just felt terrible all day. I couldn't focus on my tempo run and blew it after 2 miles on the treadmill. I went outside and barely made it through the other 2.
I was a mess and I still am today, the morning after. I feel sheer torture as I check and re-check the Ohio Board of Nursing hoping my status changes to "active." The more I check the worse I feel. No matter what the result, I am certain I will be crying my eyes out. I can't fathom re-taking this test.