Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Learned Responses

I'm going to take a test tomorrow. It's not going to affect my job, or my life; it's something I'm doing for additional learning and just because I want to. (A bet with myself may have been involved.) I know the material. I'm not worried about that at all.

So why, when I called the testing center, scheduled and paid for it, did my heart start racing, my lungs get all tight, my hands get clammy, and my adrenaline spike?

...Darn it, body, it's been over fifteen years since tests controlled your grades, and those controlled your student loans! Besides, the degree? It turned out to be less useful in getting half the jobs you've held than your pilot's license! You can stop going "Aaaaaaaaaaauuuuugh! TEST! Auuugh!" any minute now.

...aaaannnny minute....



  1. I think that particular response is hard-wired into our collective cerebellum at a fairly young age. Best advice I could give (and I note you didn't ask, for please forgive my presumption) is to do something entirely unrelated tonight. Takes one's mind off the object o' apprehension, don'tcha know.

  2. Rev Paul - I did exactly that! Well, first I walked a mile on the treadmill while looking at blogs, because the walking-fast-as-could-still-type helped burn off the adrenaline, but then I cleaned and had friends over for dinner. And picked three cups of mulberries off the mulberry tree, which took more concentration than you'd think.

    (I have a white mulberry tree. The difference between unripe green mulberries and ripe purplish-greenish-white ripe mulberries is, um, more subtle than normal mulberries.) Random weird fact: several of the ladybugs on the tree were actually about the same purplish hue as the darker pastel-purple fruit!

  3. Rev.: Not quite. It is indeed a learned response. Overall, tests seem to fail to bother me much - now I'll grant I do have have anxiety dream about them, even lo these many years since I had to deal with such. But the real things? Hardly even moved the needle, as it were.

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