Friday, January 21, 2011

Anxiety makes me anxious

An assistant professor is challenging a grade handed out by the University of Manitoba, claiming the recipient did not deserve the passing grade because he in fact failed the test.
The prof is arguing by giving the undeserved grade, the university is lessening all of its awards and those who actually passed all their tests are being cheated, their accomplishments carry less weight if a passing grade is handed out even when the student failed.
The university fired back saying the student was exceptional in everything except for the test and suffered from exam anxiety.
Well who the hell doesn't?
Is there anyone out there in college, university or high school who wakes up in the morning, singing at the top of their lungs "Hooray I get to write an exam today?"
I guess there maybe a few (and those people need some serious psychological help,) but the vast majority of people are likely stressed at having to take an exam.
I know I always was. Writing exams was right up there with going to the dentist or having a colonoscopy.
Neither of which was reason to sing, dance or rejoice in anyway.
Had I known about the exam anxiety defence when I was in high school, things could have been a lot different.
"Mr. Handschuh, you failed your algebra exam."
"Well, I would have passed, but I was very stressed out."
"Mr. Handschuh, instead of writing the answers, your wrote 'I'm a little tea pot' 237 times."
"Well, that's how I deal with exam anxiety. Tell you what, just give me a B and we'll call it square."
This anxiety defence could open up a whole world of excuses.
"Why are you not at work?"
"Sorry boss, but I have work anxiety."
"For two weeks?"
"I have very bad work anxiety. Tell you what, give me another week or so off and we will call it square."
This anxiety thing could be the most universal defence ever thought up by the human race. We may be on to something here.
"I clocked you doing 110 in a 90 zone."
"Sorry officer, but I have going-the-speed-limit anxiety. If I drive too slow, I get all stressed out and stuff. Tell you what, I am willing to let it slide this time, but don't let it happen again. Thanks."
Visiting with the inlaws anxiety, going to a sappy movie anxiety, doing the dishes anxiety - this thing could change the world as we know it.
I know anxiety can be a real issue for some people, but perhaps we are putting too many labels on too many things. Maybe this student simply did not know what he was doing, did not study or just failed the test like so many before him.
The funny thing about my exam anxiety was once I got to college, it greatly diminished.
Was it because I was older and more mature? Possibly, but the most likely reason for my decrease in stress was, unlike high school, in college I actually studied.
It is amazing how less stressful and exam can be when you actually know what the subject is all about.
Of course, I was still stressed at exam time - like I said, who isn't - but putting in a few hours in study hall turned out to be a great stress reducer.
Mind you, so is beer.
The problem with beer is, you should not use it to relieve your stress until after the exam.

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