You know that feeling, when you’re studying for a test? You’re using the study guide, looking over the lecture notes, studying for hours and hours. Sometimes even days. But then you get to the test, and it’s nothing you’ve prepared for. You wasted hours and hours studying, and the test just doesn’t resemble what you were expecting. It’s not really that you underprepared, or didn’t have enough time—because you probably still wouldn’t even know the answers to the questions on the test if you had studied longer. You really just didn’t study the right things, and really didn’t understand it as well as you thought you did. Plain and simply, it was a frustrating, stupid test.
When I get in that situation, part of me panics. Part of me wants to rip the “cheat-sheet” note card (because it’s not helping me at all… after I crammed about 7 lectures on one single 3 by 5 card). Part of me is just annoyed. And one last part of me refuses to give up on the test. After all this work, all these hours, there must be something I know—I have faith that deep down in my brain, I might be able to reason through some of the questions and find (or guess) the right answer. I have faith that the studying will at least pay off a little—even if it’s for only a few questions.
That was my Sustainability midterm on Thursday. In the test’s defense, I didn’t study for daysss. But I did go to every class. I paid attention. I did (most of) my reading. I was decently interested in the class. So when it came time to study, I really thought I knew it. I went to the review session. Made a ten page study guide. Studied the study guide. Made the most impressive 3x5 notecard I’ve ever made. And still got a good nights sleep. But then during the multiple choice midterm, I found myself getting stuck on a lot of the questions. Narrowing it down, but then having no clue from there. It was details we barely talked about, concepts I had barely heard of. I think I looked at my notecard once, and it wasn’t even helpful. Then despite my frustration, I kept going back through the test—hoping that the right answer was just going to make sense to me all of a sudden. Nine out of ten times, it didn’t. And I found myself doing “eenie meenie miney moe” to choose an answer. I’m praying that by some miracle, I escaped with a B on this test.
So anyways, that feeling that I got on that test (and the one that I got again today), is actually one I can’t seem to shake in other areas of my life. And I realized it’s gymnastics.
I’ve spent years and years “studying”: training, growing, learning, and fighting. It’s been probably close to sixteen years. How many of them have I spent injured? Probably too many, but that’s not important right now. I will say that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to avoid the injuries or reach (what I believe to be) my potential. Even in high school and club, I was never extraordinarily good or anything… maybe because I was fighting with injuries. Regardless, I kept working hard, because I thought it was fun. But I couldn’t seem to get that “good grade”: make it to the National meet or have a good, healthy season.
Unfortunately, sometimes I still feel like my “studying” and hard work hasn’t paid off. Maybe I missed something, or misread the question. I don't want this to sound too depressing, because it's not supposed to be. In fact, it's the opposite. I'm going to keep going back through the test, trying again and again, hoping that the right answer will jump out at me. And now I’m just holding on to that faith that the hard work will pay off—because there’s no way I’ll just accept that I failed at something that I’ve worked this hard for and for this long.
And that’s my epiphany.