Saturday, 21 November 2015

Exam anxiety

I grab my phone, unlock it, scroll the screen without really looking for anything, and then I put it back. Ten minutes later, I do the same thing. When I realise that playing with my phone would be a waste of precious time, I start playing with my hair and fingernails. All while staring at my exam question bank and trying to make sense of what I am reading. I keep reassuring myself that I am calm, but deep down I know that I am ready to snap at anyone—anyone—who dare to interrupt me with unimportant things. And during this time, everything is unimportant, for me it seems.

I am having exam anxiety. The really big kind.

The problem is, I often can't talk about it with anyone. My parents, ever so confident in their super-smart can-do-anything daughter, always tell me, "Ahh you can do it! If Anna couldn't, who else could?" (Real answer: a lot of other people). Boyfriend is down with bronchitis and is demanding more attention (he didn't say he demanded attention, but he asked a lot of questions, each one separated by only 3-4 minutes) Strange as it sounds, I feel obliged to make myself distracted by these questions because otherwise unnecessary drama would ensue. And God knows drama is the very last thing I want in these times.

People's confidence in me can be more suffocating than flattering. I know I don't deserve it, because there are thousands of people smarter and more resourceful than I am, and a fraction of that population is either doing medical school or doing residency. The latter is none other than a collection of the creams of the crop, and while one is not competing against each other, seeing other smart people doing smart thing in front of you smart person doing stupid thing can be highly demoralising.

I am accustomed to giving my best in everything. Right now what I see is only a jumbled mess of daughterly duties, girlfriendly duties, and doctorly duties, with the last two seem to predominate and vying for love. Usually when I'm studying for important exams, I turn off my phone or at least silence any sounds and notifications. But now I'm too much of a chicken to do that because again, the drama I don't want.

Aahhh all these words just for pointing out that I have exam anxiety! Bear with me, for I feel alone, spent, and misunderstood. I know, this anxiety might be disproportionate to the real, actual difficulty of the exam. Yea maybe. I don't know!!!! A lot less external distraction looks like the best solution for now. Let me just... cave in with my books and slides and Q-banks and become the enemy of social life. Aaarrgghh!!