Last Saturday was a pretty rough day. As you know I started back in school just a few weeks ago, and I have been studying like crazy. This is something that I really want to do well, and because of this it has forced me to really examine my time and consciously control how I spend it. I am learning to balance my job, free time with my kids, homework (theirs and mine), and church responsibilities. I am still finding my way, and I am learning what works best for me. So, last Saturday I went to school to take the first test in the more difficult of the two classes I am taking this quarter. During my drive to the University the thought flashed through my head, "What if you don't know any of the answers when you get there?" I chalked it up to testing anxiety and quickly dismissed the thought from my head. So imagine how awful it was for me when I got inside the testing center and sat down to take the test and did not know the answers to the first five questions. Immediately I started questioning myself and why I thought I could do this, and then those thoughts led to just quitting the program and forgetting that I ever even started. I am not a quitter though, and I dismissed those thoughts from my head as well. It was time to take a deep breath and re-group. I was certain that I had studied the information outlined in the chapter instructions, and now I just needed to figure out what to do about the fact that nothing on the test matched up with it. After asking the testing supervisor to stop my test after the first five questions, I drove home to review the instructions I had received and make sure that I hadn't made a mistake in what I was told to study. I reviewed the information over and over and matched it with my study guide and book, and felt a little relieved that indeed I had studied the correct information. With this in mind I e-mailed my professor and eventually received a reply. He kindly apologized and explained that there was an error in the instructions, and although I had done well studying the information listed, the instructions were incorrect and I would need to start over studying a different chapter. Beyond that he also told me that the chapter I spent so much time drilling into my head would not be one that I would be tested on at all. I was mad. Ok, I was beyond mad. I had spent at least nine hours or more of my time learning this information and it was wrong because the coursework information had not been updated. I was so upset that I had spent so much time really learning the information and not being able to test on it. I was confident that I would do well on the test. I knew the information like the back of my hand, and basically I received an apology and an encouraging note stating that I should study a new chapter and then take the test. Basically I should move on. That's it. I was mad and I wanted more. It just didn't seem right, and I allowed it to ruin my whole day.
Actually I allowed the situation to keep me upset for several days afterward. It didn't matter how much I mulled over it in my head it just didn't seem right, and then finally it hit me. Although I wasn't able to test on the stuff that I had learned and learned so well, the point was that I learned it. I still know it. I took enough time to really study it, and I believe it will be with me for a long time. It wasn't like long ago when I quickly skimmed through things and memorized information for a test. This time I really learned it and it gave me confidence to continue. I was worried about going back so school. I was worried about time, and distractions, and not having the information sink in, but this experience proved that I can do it. I can do this class, and I can learn hard things, and I can look for positive outcomes in bad situations. Now because my instructions were incorrect I am three weeks into the course and feeling very behind. I don't like to be behind. Racing the clock is something I do almost on a daily basis in one form or another and I don't like how it feels. There is no peace in being behind, but the other thing I realized was that the longer I dwelt on the fact that a major error had cost me precious time, more precious time was slipping by. This was a perfect lesson for me. I have been struggling with other things in my life that I can equate this same lesson to. I need to focus on the positive and most important things in my life ALWAYS. Giving time and attention to the things that are distracting and not important detract from where I want to go and the things I want to accomplish, and I don't have time to get off course. When I played volleyball long ago I had a coach who once said over and over during practice that frustration is not a positive emotion. He was right. Feeling angry, cheated, frustrated and sometimes like giving up is not positive, and in fact leaves us in a negative tailspin. The beauty of having these emotions though is the fact that we are in control of getting rid of them. That's right! We have control of our own emotions and if we can change our perspective on a certain situation or circumstance as well as our self-talk, we can get out of the tailspin and head down the course that we originally wanted to be on. So I guess my Saturday was rough because I allowed it to be that way. I allowed my thoughts and emotions to keep circling around and around and I couldn't focus on the path I needed to be on. Hopefully I can remember this lesson in the heat of the moment next time because I'm pretty sure there will be a next time. My emotions won't beat me unless I allow them to, and like I said before I am not a quitter! And so I will move on and continue studying. I will do the best I can, and remember not to lose my focus. It reminds me of the quote, "Your focus needs more focus." Go ahead name that movie!
P.S.- I might have to hang some of these prints in my girls' room. They would look lovely there.