I threw up.
Not the kind where there were chunks in the car or anything. It was definitely more of a dry heave kind of thing.
It didn’t start there. In fact, no, that’s where it ended.
It started six and a half hours earlier.
I woke up at 5:31 on the dot. I was startled because I overslept by a minute. One minute caused me a panic and my day to start off in chaos. I single moment of sixty seconds.
I jump out of bed and said to my husband, “Dude, the alarm wasn’t set! What happened?!”
“It went off 15 minutes ago and I shut it off and laid back down. I knew you’d get up. If not, I would have.”
I managed to get ready in time, allowing myself an extra few minutes to spare. By the time it was 6:37, I was in my car and on my way to Grand Rapids.
Within ten minutes from my house, I was in a bumper to bumper traffic jam. People don’t like to handle construction zones and therefore, were trying to cut others off, slowing down the entire flow. I glance at my clock and slowly time is fading away.
By the time I was nearing Grand Rapids, my anxiety was swelling because another construction zone and I was supposed to be at the testing site ten minutes ago.
Time. Passes. Bye.
The test is at 8:00.
At 7:52 AM, after losing my way to suite 115, I finally barge through the door. Almost too late. My hands were shaking, palms sweaty. I felt like an imposter. Truth is, I didn’t study this test at all. I come walking in later than I should be, without studying, who did I think I was?
They took my picture and scanned my palms. 7 times. 7 yes. 6 to start and then once upon my exit.
After I checked in, got the key, etc. some lady logged in for me. She hands me a marker and a folder of blank laminated pages and said, “Good luck.” My hands were shaking so bad that I dropped the marker.
I scrolled through the directions and wasn’t able to comprehend a single word. Not one. My goodness, I knew I didn’t study, but dang- I couldn’t read simple instructions. My heart was pounding in my chest and my head started to spin. I set the marker down and pushed the chair out.
Who needs to be a social worker anyway? I have a ton of creative talent. Screw it. I’m done. Then I thought about it. What would I say to my consumers? The people I preach to all day long about taking deep breaths and giving it their best shot. I would have reminded them to study, but that ship has been sailed.
Head spinning, palms so wet that I’m sure they were soaking the mouse, I started my deep breathing. At this point, I don’t care if I failed the test, I had to at least finish it. I said a prayer and forced myself to focus on the words, one-by-one.
I engaged in positive self-talk. “I’m a smart person, they’re no better than me. I went to one of the best universities in the world, I have been prepared for this. This test is stuff you do every day. You are good at what you do…”
I didn’t necessarily believe what I said to myself, but it did help calm me down some.
I answered the first question. There were four multiple choice answers, one of them was correct. I hit my answer and moved to the next. All the advice I was told was to flag a response and check it later. I didn’t do this. I said, screw it. I’m only taking this to see what I would need to study in the future. I’m gaining insight and experience.
I surfed through the test for all 170 questions. By the time I got to the last 30 questions, I was having a hard time reading them again. The words started dancing on the screen. I took another deep breath and completed.
I didn’t look through the test, I just hit continue. I filled out the survey and then my heart pounded so hard I thought I was going to pass out. I submitted and closed my eyes. The very next screen said, “Congratulations on passing the ASWB social work exam.”
“You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! I passed!”
I raised my hand and did everything I could not to laugh. I do this when I’m anxious. The lady rushed me out of the room because everyone else was still testing. As soon as we got out she said, “I take it you passed?”
I nodded. Sweat was dripping from my forehead.
“I’ve seen people come in here 7 or 8 times for that test. That’s quite an accomplishment.”
My head was spinning. My stomach was churning. I was hungry and dizzy at the same time.
The one good thing I can say about this entire experience is that I will NEVER have to take that licensing exam again. For that, it’s worth throwing up.