The dreaded exam

I’ve been debating with myself about whether or not I would be prepared to blog about this. What I am about to blog about has been a serious knock to my confidence. But then blogging has taught me that in order to make your life sound even slightly entertaining you have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit of dignity every now and again. I think my last post in particular proved this to me; people are still laughing about my old soft toys having diaries…Anyway. Main point. My exam. What was so dreaded about it? What could be worse than simply getting low marks? Well what indeed.

For many months, I had been preparing for/panicking about my Journalism Law exam. Journalism Law has been, by far, my worst subject this year. I have said many times that I would have chosen any of my other subjects to do an exam in. A revision workshop with a lecturer saw me leaving more stressed than when I had gone in. Law questions are mostly court/publication based scenarios for which we have to identify the relevant legal issues. At the time, the questions and their model answers made as much sense to me as saying 2 + 2 = bananas, knickers and pterodactyls. A few revision sessions with my stepdad saw my level of understanding going from zero to one. As did revising with the other students on my course, before the long hours of group discussions took their toll on my cognitive ability. Then came the day of the exam.

I had got it into my head from some source or other that the exam would be at ten, on 20th May. I arrived at uni at 9:15 and sat down, very close to the right room, to go through my flashcards…yes, they were still flashcards. Despite everything, I was feeling pretty good. Come 9:45 I went up to the room, and came face-to-face with a pair of stern invigilators.

“You were supposed to be here at nine.”

What? In one moment, my world crumbled to dust around me. Along with my self-esteem.

“Didn’t you hear us shushing everyone else, saying there’s an exam happening?”

How was I supposed to know that wasn’t for another exam? Apparently my tutor had mentioned that the exam times were online. Sadly, Asperger people often don’t take in information given fleetingly, in a busy classroom environment and not face-to-face. Long story short, I had to go and see various members of staff, many of whom sent me to others at different ends of the campus. While unable to hold back tears. Ok, I thought I’d be stupid enough to not pass, but to completely miss the exam? It was one of the most humiliating days of my life.

I spent the days that followed moping, praying for things to look up and reading emails from my parents to the DMU staff about the lack of communication and the blunt treatment I’d been given. And thinking that, what with 20th May being the day Grannie died, it was a good job I don’t believe in luck. Then a couple of days later I was given a deferral form to fill in, basically saying that because I was at a disadvantage I should take the exam without being marked down. When I tried to go to hand it in yesterday, a malfunctioning debit card and an emergency attempt to wash bird poo out of my hair meant I didn’t make it to Loughborough train station in time. It turned out that this was actually in my favour – the staff at DMU emailed shortly after to say: no need for a deferral, I can take the exam on Wednesday! If my prayers weren’t answered in quite the way I would have chosen, I’m not complaining!

As a conclusion I would like to give my sincere thanks to my parents, my mentor, my best friend Hannah, friends from Christian activities and at DMU and everyone who gave sympathetic comments on Facebook for their patience, words of encouragement and any other forms of support. Also Sarah (April and July 2013) for the lengthy uplifting texts on behalf of herself and Mickey. And to whichever DMU staff members who decided I can do the exam on Wednesday. Just saying.