I paused "Intro to Adulting" to prepare for an exam this past week. It was an exam for a certification I wanted to have under my belt for work. I will be back to that shortly.
I know I've always been the overachieving type. I attempt things that are definitely over my head but the way I see it, I'd rather get the worst of the best things in life than be fine managing the best of average that I qualify for. The worst that could happen in this exam was that I'd fail. If I failed, I would still be in the same exact position anyways. But if I passed, IF by some Herculean effort I passed this exam, I would be on top of the world. That alone was worth the effort.
I just wrote the massive exam and if you couldn't guess from the title, I failed.
I sat there unbelievably confused to what I had done wrong. I had had a plan. I followed my chosen study guide and I submitted myself to the plan. I had taken the time off to study. I was reading through chapter after chapter. I took the two mock exams that were meant to adequately simulate the battle to come. I passed those with little difficulty but I had still just failed.
I sat there going through all the emotions of disappointment. You know them...
From the initial,
I guess I could make the excuse that I was sick just days prior, had to take an entire day off to rest and recover. I came for my exam early but still got delayed 4 hours due to technical difficulty. How the online exam software wouldn't work on mac, so I had to switch to PC. The software for PC froze when the proctor was online. I had to wait two hours for the next proctor; that proctor said my webcam was frozen. Then I waited ANOTHER hour for the next one, before finally taking the exam.
But that would exactly that, EXCUSES.
As I left the exam room feeling all kinds of inadequate, I could only question everything I knew. I clearly wasn't smart enough, clearly not good enough, clearly not qualified enough. Clearly wasn't even technical enough for the dang computer to work the first time. It was the most deflating feeling I had felt in a while. I even continued to feel bad for myself during the drive home. Like this was the end of the day for me.
During the drive, I thought about all the things I had given up. I had given up my fun. I gave up my super decorative cooking for a bit, skipped a week of blogging as the exam drew closer. In the process, I had started going to the library again to study like I was still in college. I would leave my friends who were having fun at home. I stayed later at the office to spend time studying. I even slept less. (If you know me and sleep, this is a miracle).
But the more I thought about what I did, the more I realized;
You were really disciplined about your lifestyle JUST for this exam.
Unfortunately, I don't have any return for that effort but I can find solace in knowing that I have that sort of discipline in here somewhere.
So after failing to get the goal in mind, I realize that I loved my process.
The process of getting training, refining my knowledge. Testing if what I knew was right. Discussing with my colleagues what they knew. Talking with people who were interested in what I was doing, how I was studying, what I was studying. Getting battle ready is not something you do in the blink of an eye.
Knowing that I didn't pass, it sucks that I didn't get over the hump into victory.
I see myself looking at my compensatory victories, I don't want participation marks next time. The one thing I do like though, attempting the exam forced me to gain way more knowledge than I anticipated I would have at this stage. I stepped my game up in hopes that I would match what I needed to pass. It didn't work this time.
The things I do like though, knowing that preparing to the best of my ability doesn't guarantee success. Knowing that even if I know the most I've ever known about any topic, that doesn't mean I know enough. Possessing knowledge doesn't bring entitlement to overcoming challenges.
So on that note, congrats for failing.
On to the next one.