You learn a lot in college.
I've been learning about muscles. About joints. About range of motion, about goniometers, and manual muscle testing, prime movers, how to gravity minimize an exercise, all manner of stuff.
That was a lot of stuff to know, and I studied hard. Tim helped, quizzing me on cards that I had made. He'd call out a movement. 'Hip abduction,' for example, and I'd stand before him, staring off to the side thinking intently, flopping my leg out, (or my arm, or my head, or my elbow or my foot, or whatever), and calling out things. "Gluteus medius! Gluteus minimus!" (or brachioradialis, or sartorius, or rhomboideus major or trapezius).
He'd squint, and study what I had written down and say, "Yeah. Okay."
This week we had practicals, and you cannot possibly guess how much I dreaded them.
I studied like crazy, trying to learn everything that there was to know, and feeling like for every single thing that I learned, there was one more thing that I needed to learn. I was not feeling confident about any of it.
The day of the first tests dawned, and I trudged off to school like a condemned woman walking towards her execution. I got there early, and tried to study, but it seemed like the last minute studying was actually confusing things in my head. Resolutely, I shut the book. It was about then that I discovered that I'd been studying in my car with the headlights on, and run down my battery. (Hey! Don't judge me. One of the cars has headlights that shut off automatically. The other doesn't. I just happened to be driving the other.) I felt like an idiot, and feeling like an idiot is not the best way to walk into a classroom on the first day of practicals.
I took a deep breath as the test was distributed. When my copy hit my desk, I shut my eyes, feeling just a little sick. I opened them, and I began. I answered the first question. And then second. The next. And the next Incredulously, I realized that the test seemedwellit seemed kind of easy. I answered all the questions. I named all the muscles on four sheets of handouts. I double checked my answers. Then I handed it in and walked out the door.
Thus ended the first day.
Now, you'd have thought that this would have made me confident about the second portion of the practicals. You'd have thought wrong. The second portion of the test was hands on, and I am a very self conscious person. Practicing on my patient husband in my living room was a far different thing from doing the same thing in front of teachers who stop you repeatedly to ask questions, watching your every move making little notations on their clipboards.
My partner and I were scheduled for 10, and we waited in the hall. Neither one of us were awash in confidence. She'd spent the previous night practicing on her sister and mother. I was a little envious. Tim works second shift. I hadn't gotten to practice on anybody, although I had sat up until midnight studying.
Cara had called in the middle of the study session. I said, wearily, "You know, at this point, I don't even care how I do. I just want this to be over." She had let me have it. "An attitude like that will get you a job flipping burgers at a fast food joint for unappreciative people. Is that what you want to do with the rest of your life?" The argument sounded vaguely familiar, but I was too tired to think on it.
That interminable night was over too soon, and here we were. My partner, Laura and I stood there in the hall, looking through our cards, our lips soundlessly moving as we stared off into space trying to visualize things. The door opened, our hearts leapt into our throats, and the moment we had dreaded for weeks was upon us.
In the end, one of the teachers said, "It was refreshing to see two students who studied so hard for this." (That's a good sign, don't you think?) Laura and I walked back into the hall. I gave her a hug, thanked her for working with me. I told her that she'd done well. She said the same thing to me. I picked up my stuff and headed for the parking lot. The practicals were done.
You know, you learn a lot in college.
I'm learning how patient my poor husband really is.
I'm learning that I've taught my children well.
I'm learning that cooking and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow.
I'm learning that I am competent, despite all my self doubts.
I'm learning self confidence, and learning to see my strengths, and that I can accomplish just about anything.
I've survived this testing, and I will live to be tested again.
You really learn a lot in college. Textbooks cost a lot of money, but I'm discovering that some of the biggest lessons come from outside those books.
Debby Hornburg still lives in Scandia. Her blog can be found at lifesfunnylikethat.blogspot.com, and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org