I have some new initials! That’s right, I passed the big bad NCLEX. I know most of you thought I had it in the bag and were not worried for a second. I wasn’t worried either until the moment I finished the exam. It was a bright and sunny day….
…And I had done all of the correct test-taking things. I started with sleep and nutrition. I have recently begun a nutrition plan with our friend Carol of Carol’s Cafe. She has me eating lean, vitamin-rich, and delicious. This healthy heroine packed me a pre-exam dinner and breakfast and post-exam lunch that I brought with me to Oahu. I booked a room at the Ala Moana hotel. I adore hotels. I also camp. But hotels and I have a special bond. So I slept like a champ and had a short little walk to the testing center.
I wasn’t nervous when they took my mug shot, scanned my multiple forms of identity, checked my person for cheating materials, and led me to the Cubicle of Truth. I also wasn’t nervous when I answered the questions. But then the computer went blank. I could have gotten anywhere between 75 and 265 questions for the Super Smart System to determine if I had what it takes. I answered question 75 and the Super Smart System either had had enough of me to know I couldn’t hack it or I had proved myself a lot more quickly than I thought possible and they booted me off with a “Thank you for completing the exam, please fill out this survey”.
And that’s when I got nervous. The shaking, eyes burning with tears, holding back the vomit kind of nervous. I got out of there as fast as possible and headed for the closest security blanket I could find, Starbucks. After I steeled myself with a few shots of liquid courage, I proceeded to shop for six hours straight.
If I stood still for too long contemplating clothing, I panicked about question #32 or yelled at myself for guessing. The good news is, I didn’t do too much damage for a marathon shopping trip, because I stuck to the cheap stores with the loud music so I couldn’t hear my panicky thoughts. The soundtracks at Forever 21 and PacSun are also great for covering the occasional outbursts of “Of course! Diabetes! Stupid!” Expensive stores are much quieter. Have you ever noticed that Nordstroms only has player piano music? Who knows what Nieman Marcus does since I only buy one Christmas ornament a year there. They probably have mimes.
I am not sure how Registered Nurse candidates of yore handled waiting for old-fashioned paper envelope test results. I logged on to the Quick Results website approximately 500 times even though it said to wait 48 hours. Hours?! How dare they call that QUICK? If I had to sleep the restless sleep of Post Traumatic Exam Syndrome for two months, I would not be fit for registered anything. At 6:30 am Saturday morning the website showed my results. I had passed. And as quick as the relief settled in, a billion more anxieties rushed in. Job, school, family, boyfriend (?!), travel. And I think it goes without saying but I will say that I wished with all my little stressed out heart that my mom was on the other end of a phone line to tell me how excited she was. So I had to make a conscious effort to enjoy the moment and thank God for his never ending goodness, his awesome blessings, his perfect grace. And I’m still choosing that.
EB, RN. Sounds good.