Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Needed Push to Safety

I finished college enduring the daily 4- to 5- hour commute for more than half a decade. And that was including Saturday and even the Sunday ROTC. The only time-out that I had was during holidays and severe flooding. Yep, it doesn’t matter whether there’s a storm signal #3, or it’s been raining hard for days straight, as long as the roads are passable, classes will go on. Sigh…

So after graduation, it’s kind of natural for me to decide to take a very short rest - a year maybe.

But no no no! My dad, who spent most of his entire back-breaking career for my excellent education, strongly opposed my brilliant idea. Oh man!

He insisted that I prepare for the licensure exams. In short, I was back again to that 4-hour daily commute (cough cough). The good thing was there were no reports, no thesis, and no exams to fail - just study and review the whole day! Witwiw!

It didn’t take long though for me to suffer from “formula overload”. There’s just too much information to absorb! I wasn’t even sure if I can cram all those years studying numerous formulas into a month’s period. And it came to a point where I was just reading but not retaining anything!

‘Till the exam day came. I kept on psyching myself I’m ready for this. Though a great part of me says that I’m not. Why did I ever give up on the latter part of my review? Silly me, it’s too late for that now.

Both my parents accompanied me to the exam site. They believed in me, they were there for moral support. How can I hide the worried look on my face? Somehow they understood my fear, laying a hand on my shoulder, assuring me that everything’s going to be ok. Oh boy!

We parted by the gates, I’m all by myself now. There were so many examinees, probably from mixed universities. I paused for a moment trying to recognize a familiar face. Didn’t find one, I searched for my designated room instead.

Unlike me, everyone else looked so composed. Occasionally glancing at notes, but still smiling. They seemed like they can take on the toughest questionnaire in a jiffy. Heck, they can even share a mathematical joke while me… well I was just about to panic.

Here I was on my seat, shading my hopefully first correct answer. So far, so good. Whenever I encountered an item without having a ready answer, I skip to the next. Going back only when there’s still more time. At least I get to answer more easy questions rather wasting time thinking (or guessing) on just an item.

I handled the first part of the exam pretty well. What a sigh of relief. One down, two to go.

Moving on to the next. Item #1… tricky. Skip to #2… mmm… #3 - wait a minute. It appeared like each succeeding question relies upon the result of its predecessor. My goodness, then I really have to make good of my very first answer. Guessing is not an option.

But no matter how much I try, none of the equations and iterations in my head seemed to fit. Then it occurred to me - the solution must have been discussed during my overload period. Why didn’t I put on a bit more effort? Aside from panicking, what am I going to do now?!

Good thing the entire exam is based upon multiple choice, if I can’t find a solution… guess! That’s what I practically did. I tried to compute but my answer didn’t even come close to any of the choices.

Stress is building at such a rate that I can literally feel the pulse in my head, my back trickling with sweat. I’ve never been like this ever. During break, I accidentally poured chocolate on my shirt. I was drinking in a hurry, tilting the bottle faster than I can consume it.

After the exam, I was mentally drained but relieved at the same time. It’s finally over and so am I. Darn.

On my way out, my mind kicked into thinking mode again. What will I say to my folks who patiently waited outside the gates? Will they ask me how I did? I knew they will but I was hoping they won’t.

True enough, they did. I told them it was hard. They didn’t ask more, I guess they can see that I had enough mental beating for the day. As parents are, they assured me again that everything’s going to be ok. Oh I wish.

After a couple of weeks, the results were published in the Sunday papers. For obvious reasons, I didn’t bother buying one. After breakfast, I went to my girlfriend. Don’t want to see that disappointed-angry face on my dad when he checks on the papers.

When I arrived she was on the phone (as usual). She seemed to have a good start and me… well I was just delighted to see her. Then almost immediately, she handed me the phone telling me it’s my dad. Crap, there goes my happy morning.

I never thought that a phone can frighten me so much. It’s like a precarious black thing that’s about to crush me. Yep, I was that scared.

“H-hello?” that’s probably the first and last word that I said on the phone.

“Please come home this instant!” dad sounded with such a demanding tone. “Read the papers… you passed!”

Aha, was that supposed to calm me down? And was he was using reverse psychology on me? Could be.

But then my GF’s dad, who came from the backdoor, rushed in to congratulate me with those “you did great” words.

As it turned out, I really did. Wow! Unbelievable, I managed to pull the whole thing through!

The following week, I claimed the official results at the releasing center. I met few of my buddies there but they weren’t as fortunate as I am. They’re initial expectations were entirely the opposite. They say I was just lucky, I don’t think so. It’s more like a blessing to me.

As I recall during the exams, these people finished about an hour and a half early while I consumed the entire 6-hour or so period. It kind of was embarrassing to finish last but I was worried more about the blanks on my sheet. I tried my best deriving the nearest possible the answers up to the last minute.

Those remaining minutes were my real life savers. Out of nowhere, my much needed equations came popping out as I was frantically writing. Whoa… I was having goose bumps?! I finally found logic.

To this day, that incident felt like I was being pushed to safety. I don’t know who though I wanted it to be Him (who else). But I rarely go to church or even pray so how could it be. Even so, I was thankful!

Whenever I can, I try to remind myself daily of it. That He’ll be there to help if we help ourselves too. And that when we least expect it, He’ll be that needed push to safety.

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