Ava Sophies fright of exams

Today I want to finish my first post on this blog. I started writing it and published it(without knowing) on November 7th 2012. I forgot about the blog for a while. When I remembered it again, I just hoped no one had started reading my blog yet: that no one would notice my unfinished post.  A few weeks ago I figured out how to hide my post by making it private *so proud* . Here’s what I wrote:

Ava Sophie has a huge fear of exams. She is filled with so much stress and anxiety that her palms sweat(actually she sweats all over), she freezes, her head is suddenly empty, she can’t sit still, gets unbearably restless. All she can think of is running for all she is worth, and when she “discovers” that she can’t, the panic seizes her. Suddenly she can’t breathe! At least she doesn’t faint, but she most certainly doesn’t get anything said either. Not a word(at least not more than “I-I–I…”). Lets just say that she does not think stuttering is flattering, especially not when she is the one doing it.

Today, Ava Sophie went on a coping-with anxiety course. There, she learned about different techniques to reduce stress, avoid the anxiety and take control over the situation. Some of the techniques were quite specific, while other techniques were simply to be kind to herself. Most of all, it was about thinking positively about herself and building up her self esteem and self-image.

Here are some:

  • negative thoughts produce negative emotions, negative emotions produce negative actions and negative actions produce negative consequences
  • Positive thoughts produce positive emotions, positive emotions produce positive actions and positive actions produce positive consequences(see how fast you can read this whole sentence out aloud. I’ve tried it…)
  • Talk encouragingly about yourself and you will end up encouraged

Obviously I spent ‘too much’ time worrying about my exams and too little time writing this post. Here comes the sequel:

  • Say encouraging things to yourself, like: ‘I CAN do this’, ‘I am LOOKING FORWARD to do this’, ‘I  CAN’T WAIT to show them what I know’, ‘I am IN control’. (at first Ava Sophie blew this off as mind-tricks, but it is not any sort of trick: it is the truth. Ava Sophie just couldn’t see the truth because she was blinded by all her negativity)
  • Remember that conscious knowledge equals 10% and unconscious knowledge is 90% of all knowledge in the brain. This means that when saying: ‘I know more than I think I do’, it is the complete truth;)
  • Breathe- (just like in labor).
  • Start with what you can first.
  • read all the assignments first, and when you start working on something you know the answer to, your brain is ‘secretly’ finding the answer to what you think you don’t know, far back in the unconscious. Isn’t that just cool(usually I hate that word), or what?
  • Visualization. Take time to take moments before your exam where you visualize going though your exam with success, with a good feeling. 

All these helpful words Ava Sophie brought with her the last weeks before her exams that autumn, but she didn’t take much time to really go through them, and work on them. But what she did do, she took time right before every exam and prayed. On the last one she just gave thanks to the lord for everything good in her life. On that exam she experienced something great! Her stomach was of course awful, but except from that, she didn’t feel very nervous, and she could even sit looking out of the window and smile every once in a while, during the exam. Somewhere between these exams, Ava Sophie was reminded of these words by the Lord:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, and ye are that temple.

She thought it to be a severe matter: did she treat God’s temple as holy, by thinking her negative thoughts?

Today, Ava Sophie had her last exam for now, and it was an oral exam- her biggest fear. She really had two days to study for her exam, where one of the days she had a babysitter for her child, and yesterday where she had only two hours to read after her child would be asleep. The day she had a babysitter, she didn’t read for her exam. She studied the bible instead. This decision was based on :

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:32-34

The result was that she had only read a few hours for her exam when she went in. She read for the exam and realized that it wasn’t humanly possible to learn everything she needed to learn, and she also realized exactly HOW MUCH she didn’t know when she read. That’s not the weird thing. The weird thing is that it didn’t scare her, and it didn’t make her stop reading. Neither did it make her stay up all night to read. No, she went to bed 9.30 pm and was sound asleep without any worries less than an hour later. When she woke this morning, she didn’t feel nervous. When she missed the bus, so that she wouldn’t get much time to read before her exam, she wasn’t worried. When she arrived at school and realized she only had 30 minutes before she had to be in the exam room, she had the choice between praying and studying the important stuff that she knew she already had forgotten. the weird thing is that it was an easy choice. She went to a quiet room prepared to pray. She suddenly felt like giving thanks to the Lord instead of praying that the exam would go well.

When she arrived for the exam she had to wait 15 minutes. Her stomach suddenly didn’t feel like being friendly, but she still didn’t feel more nervous than what can be described as healthy. They called her in and told her to start talking about a subject. Here comes the crazy part: She started telling them what she knew, they asked a few questions, of which there was only one she couldn’t answer. There was no stuttering, her throat felt fine, her brain worked. She remembered what she was supposed to! No sweaty palms, and Ava Sophie actually talked normally(!) in an oral exam, and got through to the point when they said something like ‘no further questions’. She could go. What had felt like five minutes, had in reality been 17 minutes, and she had talked her way throughout it, to the point where her teacher and censor were so satisfied that they didn’t have any further questions. Oh, Joy! Praise the Lord!

4 things she had done differently this exam:

  1. She sought God’s kingdom first, before anything else
  2. She trusted God’s word
  3. She didn’t let any negative thoughts rule  her mind. She just let go of them.
  4. She gave thanks to the Lord

What a blessing to be the child of God


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