quagmires

18 days later

Okay, I’ll come clean. I’m more than a little bit terrified.

It’s been 18 days since I took the SAT. My first SAT, filled with anticipation and basically just the feeling that I wanted to get it over with.

January 25: I walked into the university building after struggling to walk through 10 degree weather and a foot of snow in my Birkenstocks to reach the front door, to find a lady standing there and signs plastered everywhere: “DON’T USE CELLULAR DEVICES! Don’t even bring them!” Right at that moment where she repetitively warned the same thing again, an obnoxious ringtone I had chosen just the night before, a snippet of 12 Fingers by Young the Giant, made itself present at what was probably like 20 decibels (maybe, I really don’t know what a decibel is). My friend called me to tell me that she was on her way, and minutes later I saw her come up the stairs.

The day was filled with what I expected: the smell of graphite, ticking clocks, my fellow high school juniors and seniors, old people as frigid as the weather outside this January day, telling us all not to do this, or, yes, to do that. It was standardized testing, after all. Before the test, we all anxiously stood around in the hallways, making sure our #2 pencils were sharpened to a tee and that our calculator could, indeed, calculate that 2+2=4. Between sections, clementine slices were passed around in silence in the hallway during our break periods, and I stood by the heater to warm up before I had to sit down and take another 3 sections of the test.

In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I wasn’t particularly interested in reading about a man who felt a special connection to nature and his servant, but I didn’t mind either. I’d taken plenty of standardized tests before, each one no less or more painful than the last. During each section, I nervously checked my dad’s Rolex, which I had stolen for the day, and back at the wall clock in the room, as if the time would read differently. The time added up: the SAT lasted for a solid 5 hours, and at the end, all I could think about was doing well enough so I didn’t have to sit in a chair where my feet barely touched the ground for another Saturday.

Now, I get to find out whether I have to sit through another SAT. The previous goals I’ve set for myself were just getting above 700 in all three sections. I went onto the CollegeBoard website to find out when I would get my scores back: 3 weeks. That’s really not all that bad. It takes time to process and deliver and enter in the scores, and whatever else they do. But tomorrow marks the end of the 3rd week of waiting: I’m getting my scores back.

Now I’m terrified. Not the kind where a person creeping behind you and saying “Boo!” would make you pee your pants (just a wee bit), and not even the kind where you wait in anticipation, scared but more curious, so the terror just cancels out. No, I’m right now the worst kind of scared: knowing that I have to know, but I don’t really wanna know, you know? You know. That kind of gut-wrenching scared that really isn’t all that gut-wrenching at all, until you get the courage to open up the e-mail telling you whether, according to this test, your critical reading, math, and writing skills are good or not. The complacent scared where you don’t really feel anything, because ignorance is bliss.

Okay so that wasn’t the most eloquent way of expressing that feeling, but either way, tomorrow, it’ll go away. If I open that email, I mean.

God, I really don’t want to take it again.

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