I was a terrible student. I ditched classes, didn’t do my homework, and lied to my parents about it. And all for no good reason. I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs. I didn’t go to wild parties or hang out with boys. I just plain loathed high school.
Then I turned 16. Everyone thought it’d be best for me to move on. I took a test, passed, received my “diploma” and enrolled in classes at the junior college. The first thing I had to do was placement testing. You’d think this would be the easy part. I mean, it’s not like you can fail your placement exams. However, I was nervous when I arrived. I didn’t know what to expect. I was a snot-nosed 16-year-old kid. I didn’t belong.
The fact is, from the moment I entered high school, I felt out of place. (I blame it on the fact that I was late to my very first day.) To make matters worse, I switched high schools just three months into my freshman year. Talk about a horrifying experience. I didn’t know anyone. I felt like there was a huge neon “LOSER” sign hovering above my head.
Those feelings feelings were hard to shake and lingered even after I left. Sitting in a room full of college-aged kids absolutely made my skin crawl.
The test started and things were going smoothly. The room was dead silent. As only a room full of strangers can be. Of course, in my pea-sized brain, I still saw that sign flashing above me. I was sure if push came to shove, everyone in the room would band together in their contempt for me. (Yes, I was very self-centered. As only a 16-year-old can be.)
An hour into the test and, wouldn’t you know it, my stomach started to growl. Loudly. (Guess I should have eaten breakfast.) I was mortified, sure everyone could hear my rebellious stomach. Every time it grumbled, I’d sit up straighter… or slouch back… or cross my legs. Anything that might drown out the sound I was sure was reverberating throughout the room.
Chances are, no one heard it. Stomach growling is pretty much like chewing. Both sound louder in your own head. And even if my neighbors did hear it… WHO CARES? It’s not like I had uncontrollable flatulence. I was hungry. Hungry. That’s all.
However, even though I’m an adult now and I realize that it was nothing to get worked up over, I did learn my lesson. You see, a few weeks ago I applied and was accepted to a local college. And guess what? I get to retake my placement exams. I tried to tell them it had only been ten years since I was last in school and how much could I have possibly forgotten (a lot) but they wouldn’t hear of it.
I get to take the exams on Wednesday. And you’re damn right I’m going to eat breakfast before I go.
I’m still a bit nervous… but at least the flashing loser sign is gone.