Before a big test, everybody gets a little anxious, some people more than others. Your palms may start to sweat. Your heart may race. You may feel a sense of impending doom. People feeling this anxiety often have difficulty sleeping, experience physical discomfort, and sometimes experience the dreaded blackout feeling when trying to recall the desired information. By the end of high school, I had taken so many tests through AcaDec, they became more fun than frightening.
On the seven hour flight, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I had a lot of time to think. As I tried to settle in and get comfortable on the plane, all these doubts about my ability to live in France started circulating in my head. “My French is not good enough,” “what if my classes are too hard,” “how do you say…” I tried to sleep but couldn’t get comfortable. My body just ached all over. On the flight, the stewardess asked, “quel repas voudriez-vous?” It’s a simple question. “Which meal would you like?” It was complete with a visual cue in the dinner cart. My heart started pounding, palms started sweating, and my mind went blank searching desperately for the meaning of those words. Seeing my blank stare, she said, “which meal would you like?”
Perhaps I can blame the plane for my muscle soreness and insomnia, but somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean I was transported back to my high school self full of doubts. In a way, this is going to be the most difficult, most comprehensive test of my French ability in my life. The best thing I can do now is calm down, hope for the best, and get ready for class.