Thursday, 30 January 2014

Breathe.

Yup, breathe. That's exactly what I've been practising for the past few weeks, in the midst of preparing for AS finals, while sitting the examination, post examination- I breathe. Sometimes I take short, shallow breaths; other times I inhale very deeply, and exhale slowly, until I feel my stomach manage to twist out of the anxious knot- before the butterflies start fluttering in it again. When I breathe, lightly or hard, the left ventricle of my heart pushes the oxygenated blood into the aorta and the blood is carried to my brain to function and think. #signsofbeingabiostudent

My heart races in intense speed particularly before entering the examination hall, or when the paper is a minute away from being distributed. It pounds like a thousand horses during a stampede, and I gently place my hands on my chest, desperately trying to calm it down, as though afraid it would explode- unable to withstand the vast tension that I have been dealing with.

It's maniacal and deranging, honestly, no matter how well-prepared I am, the shakiness, pounding head, hands turn icy cold, breathless symptoms would bother me. Like ants on hot bricks, I struggle to simmer down. Countless times I have find myself unable to get hold of myself, feeling both uptight and overwrought, I would fretfully pace in my house, or break into yoga poses to regain my composure. 

Allow me to take you back to two days before, when I had to sit for  both my Biology and Economics Paper 2 examination.

Insane- is ultimately the word to describe the day.

I had almost gone demented. It was 7.00 in the morning that my mother and I departed from home. Given the massive traffic congestion, it usually takes about 45 minutes or so to reach my college. My first paper of the day, Biology Paper 2, starts at 8.30 a.m. We were told to gather at the examination hall at 8.00 a.m. as it was going to take some time to settle the large amount of students down. I had assumed I was going to make it in time, in fact, have a bit of spare time to use the washroom and talk to my friends before the paper starts.

Little did I know, the traffic was not in my favour at all. It completely drove me up the wall that day. I was absorbed catching up with the notes, that I didn't realise it was already 8.00 a.m. when I still hadn't arrive in college. The distance was near, but the traffic- oh, the traffic- I had no idea why or how did we end up being stuck in the congestion, but I was aware of one thing- we were dangerously close to being late. It was horrifying, I was mad disturbed by the thought of not making it in time, that I totally threw up my notes and buried my face into my hands.

I didn't know what to do. My mum was helpless. She repeatedly told me to hold myself together, and in the shakiest voice- which I believe was the toughest she could manage- assured me that she was going to send me to college before the examination starts. Of course I wasn't buying it. The traffic light turning green didn't make any progress to the movement of the cars. Cars were moving, so, so, slow- and my heart sunk as every minute passed by.

I glanced down at my watch. 8.15 a.m. I was alarmed. I choked, and I nearly burst out into tears. The pressure was distressful and I had an exasperating thought to leap out of the car and race towards my college. I was in a tizzy. I couldn't breathe.

I remember telling my mum how awfully disappointed I was in myself. I recall moments when I would shake my head in disapprove when I see students coming in late for examination. It's the future we're talking about, how could you be late? I would think to myself. I was being captious at myself at that point, and my mum, on the other hand, was gravely trying to cool down her fretful self as she fought against the heavy traffic. There I was- fastened in the car seat, and feeling myself being shot into pieces as the cars honked and honked, but only to notice that the traffic was worsening.

I was fiercely fighting back my tears. I had to grit my teeth real hard, hold my hands into taut balls of fists, and breathe thoroughly.

Though the reality was, I couldn't bring myself to think. If I imagined any further the consequences of me being late and not being able to sit for the paper, I would have no doubt that I was going to pass out due to the consummate rile. 

I thought about my future. I visualised myself answering the questions with a strong, clear and confident mind. I figured I needed to do what's best for me at the moment. I decided not to let time go into waste anymore. I found myself whipping out my notes, read them out loud in the car, forcing myself to concentrate on the facts and details. I had studied immensely hard for the examination, I was determined not to let being late affect my emotions.

At last we reached. I sped up the stairs, assembled my stationary as fast as I could, and entered the hall. All the students were seated, and the exam papers were being distributed. The embarrassment was alarming, but the relieved feeling of being able to make it before the exam started was ultimately overwhelming. Needless to say, my heart started to relax a little bit when I was approaching my best friend, Yong Qi, who pointed my seat to me. I was, and still am incredibly thankful that I had a chance to look at her before the examination started. Her smile did wonders to settle my speeding heart down.

I immediately sat down to my seat, gazed at the clock hanging right in front of the hall, which read 8.28 a.m. I had arrived 2 minutes before my Biology paper. It was bizarrely close- and painfully pressurising- which made me even more grateful that the odds were, in the end, in my favour.

Oh and, by the way, I hope my results would speak what I expect of my results- because I think I managed to do well. Choking down the past year questions helped tremendously- and I wasn't kidding about choking them down- every time the thought of giving up crossed my mind I would tell myself that it's now or never- suck it up back and persevere. It was tough, with the additional Economics subject to tackle on the same day- only the 9 students who were taking the combination as I do in this college would feel the heavy load of burden.

I distanced myself from entertainment, to keep myself focus on what was important, what was crucial. I worked hard, really, really the hardest I've pushed myself in my 19 years. 

I felt truly justified to myself, that I've given my best, and I will forever be grateful for all the help and guidance I've received, the encouragement and support my loved ones faithfully showered me with.

As for my results, I will keep the faith, and press on. 

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