A few weeks ago, I had to take a placement test for Spanish. I knew I had to hit at least a level 3 in my school’s program, otherwise I wouldn’t have the credits necessary to apply for my dream schools. Now, I have an older sister who is amazing at Spanish, and I always felt less than adequate. It never bothered me. We had different gifts. But now it counted, and I couldn’t help comparing myself to her and thinking about how awful I was in Spanish, and worrying about that test. I worked myself up about it. I cried. I woke up in the middle of the night and pulled out my study guides, because I couldn’t sleep. I was a nervous wreck. I don’t usually get so emotional about tests, but this one really mattered, and I kept having nightmares about failing the test. Really, I had no confidence in my abilities.
Anyway, I studied my brains out in the week before the test. To tell you the truth, I had procrastinated on studying. I’d had the materials to study for the test since the beginning of the summer, but I took the whole first month off. I thought, I’m going to fail this test, and there’s no one to blame but myself.
So I went in to take the test, and the whole first half was a breeze. I was surprised, because I believed I got every answer right. The second half was a little rocky. I left a section blank. I had to write an essay, and I accidentally used the wrong adjective in a really obvious spot, which I only realized after the test. But when I walked away, I was actually hoping I got into Spanish 3. I was still nervous, though, and to make matters worse, the school never gave me my results back, so I showed up on the first day of school, still not sure what class to go to. I went to the Spanish 3 classroom, because I was hopeful, and the teacher told me, “Oh, yeah, you’re in my class. But you’re actually in my Spanish 4 class.”
I tested two levels higher than I expected. I was blown away. I had to sit in on the Spanish 3 class for the first day, and as my teacher spoke to the others in English, he offered asides to me in Spanish. As I answered, a boy said “Woosh,” and made the ‘over my head’ gesture, which made me smile. And my teacher actually pulled me aside to tell me, “You did really well on your placement test.”
I was floating on air for the rest of the day, I was so relieved. I had been prepared for the worst, and hoping for at best level 3. And here I made it into 4…
Well, the bottom line is, I had no faith in myself. My older sister told me again and again while I was worrying, “Where is this going to get you? Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen, whether you worry or not. Just be confident.” I should have listened to her. I wasted a summer being worried about the test, and I ended up doing better than I’d expected. Sure, my sister is better at Spanish than I am. But there are always people who are going to be better than you. You can find your own terms of success. For me, this was definitely a success. I should have believed in myself. And you should believe in yourself. You have no idea what you are capable of. Have you ever realized the same God who plans out the lives of Olympic athletes, and Oscar winners, and world leaders, planned out your life, too? He gave you all the potential you need, and you have it, whether you believe in it or not. This is a bit of a big moral to tack on to the end of my story, but you get it.