Friday, June 26, 2009

the aftermath

This morning I wrote the first of two exams that will determine my entry into the PhD program. Thanks to everyone who prayed. All I can say is, Christ have mercy. Neither profanity or humor intended. I had a wonderful week of studying when I first arrived. This past week, coordinating schedules with my husband (here to teach a class) and being woken each morning before I had finished sleeping... (including 6am this morning), has left me absolutely exhausted. He bent over backwards to try to accommodate joint studies. But I was distracted and the information I had begun to grasp started to rot and accumulate in a deadly, stinking swamp from which I couldn't extricate myself.

It was awful. A few minutes ago, I peeked at what I wrote for the exam. It's worse than I feared: the thoughts are a jumble of a information, barely sorted and not edited. Three questions, three hours, and a computer. Oh yeah, and a head full of lists and ideas, names and theologies. I always have trouble with names. Several important ones, along with some major ideas, flew right out of my head, spoiling the flow of writing (and they didn't come back.) It's not that I don't know the information. With another hour, I could have written a coherent essay or two. Even at that, I probably could not write three.

Some people process quickly. I dump and sort. Dump more and re-sort. After I have everything out, it takes time to edit... time I didn't have today. I remember the same chaotic process and frustration from the practice exam we wrote last year. How I was hoping my brain scramble and ability to regurgitate info had evolved since then. Sadly, nope. Same thing. Especially since the test asked the question I had the least clarity about. A thick fog settled in my head, the ideas went around and around, and everything mushed together in an incoherent jumble. Learning under pressure and among distractions has been like this for me since I was a little kid.

I am frustrated with the day. I accept the way God made me: I even like much of how God put me together. But jumping into someone else's question without warning, at a moment's notice? My frozen response is great in emergencies when you need a steady exterior. I process trauma a few days later.

Quick retorts have given me trouble before. This one, even though it's written, may be a death knell for my continuing studies. I'd really regret it, because I have enjoyed the classes and information. We'll see what God has planned. And I'll keep you posted on the results.

There are double the books and half the time - one week - until the next (and final) exam. Did I say, "God have mercy!" already?

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