Monday, July 8, 2013

Testing! Testing!

Generally, I’m not a good sleeper. But I went to bed early last night (my version of early: 11:30pm) and actually slept better than most nights. Made double sure I applied deodorant (yes, that’s how my nerves sometimes present themselves), checked my bag for the Orientation paperwork required to get into the test and went to work for a few hours. I grabbed a burrito on the way to school and read for a while at Del Taco. Hit the parking lot an hour and a half before the tests because I didn’t know what parking was going to be like during summer session. I lucked out, though, and found a space pretty fast. Paid my $2 and walked across the street to suss out the room for the test. Once I knew where I was going, I sat in the shade in the quad and read some more (you won’t be surprised by my English assessment scores, will you??).


15 minutes before the test, I opened the door to the building to find a mass of young people, filling out forms on clip boards, which were passed from person to person. A young guy offered me his. Why am I always surprised and pleased when young people act like I belong there? Anyway, filled mine out and stood in line with my form, Orientation printout and drivers license. Turned off my phone. Silent/vibrate isn’t good enough. Turn it off! Good example of how quietly manic I get: I checked my Student ID number, which is notated in my phone, when I put it on the form, then I turned off my phone. Then I turned the phone back on, checked it again, logged out of my notes, logged back in and checked it AGAIN…

One by one, they took us into a small office and checked our info. Then we moved into another room, filled with computers surrounded by cardboard dividers, like voting booths. A few whispered directions and off you go! The first test was Writing. They give you a few essays of several paragraphs each that you correct by clicking on sentences and picking the correction (or maybe not--tricky!). Some of the answers were so ridiculous, I almost laughed out loud. But I contained myself and got through that section pretty fast. I was confident and high on Word Power!

Then came the Math section. I thought the questions were supposed to get easier as you answered them wrong… If that’s easier, I’m blonde and buxom... I suppose I should be embarrassed by how little math I know but instead, I felt like Young Mare was pumping me with laughing gas. Truly, it was so awful, I had to keep myself from snickering. Ummm… Fractions, numbers squared, percentages of percentages of percentages… Even the calculator kindly provided on the computer was no help. It was like a foreign language. The most I could hope for was getting the lowest score in school history. And it was never ending--question after question, like a horror movie without blood spatter. Some I just clicked without even engaging, just to end the misery.

Finally, it was over and I went on to Reading. Relief! More essays, this time testing for comprehension--story on the left, questions on the right. You review the questions before reading so you have an idea of what to look for. Breezed through those and even learned some interesting things about Georgia O’Keefe. If anyone remembers the reading comprehension materials we had back in the day, you’d read the story printed on a folded piece of heavy stock, put it back in a color coded box, then take the quiz--not having the story there to check details. We’ve come a long way, Young Mare!! Again, basking in confidence!

When you hit ok on the final essay, you get the blessed You Are Finished Screen. Whew! Raise your hand and they come walk you to the printer to get your assessment. Reading: 96 Yay! Writing: 97 Woo Hoo! Pre-Algebra: 83 OK! Algebra: 20 Yup, 20. I didn’t have time to ask if that’s the lowest they’d ever seen… But I’m pretty sure that must be close. Anyway, I’m happy to say I don’t have to take the sub-100 courses for English, I can dive right into College level classes. Math, I’m too busy inappropriately giggling to even think about it right now. But, just for the record, the assessment recommendation is Pre-Algebra… Oh Lord, aren’t they teaching that in elementary school??

On my way to the parking lot, I stopped at the Counseling Center to make an appointment for my Group Advisory meeting, which is in two days. I wanted to make sure I’d done the counseling session before my registration date, August 1. I’ve pretty much decided to take French 101, with a couple of other default classes in mind if French is filled, but I want to make sure I’m not missing anything vital about the modern day college experience. I also want to find out where I pick up my student ID. Maybe that’ll get me discounts at theatres and bookstores. The Husband helpfully pointed out that I may be able to combine it with senior discounts…

  A Few More Observations

I thought I was the oldest one there but after I was seated, an older man, maybe my age (no, you haven’t missed my age, I just prefer A Certain Age, thank you) (ok, 57 in a few weeks) sat down within my view. He looked like he’d just come from a mechanics job and after a while, he seemed to be struggling with one of the English sections, but he didn‘t make a peep through the math section. I silently wished him well.

The testing room was very Vegas--no clocks! I guess they don’t want you worrying about the time. I’m a clock watcher, so it was tough for me to be in temporary temporal limbo.

I walked into the testing building behind a family: Dad, girl student and younger brother. She was in front of me in the line for the first stop. Dad and Bro stood across the corridor, making faces at her, trying to keep her loose. Awwwww :-)

The Husband has taken to referring to me
as The Co-Ed. *giggle*

When it’s over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement.

Mary Oliver

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Mary. Are you a Leo too? I'm in August.