My eldest child took the ACT yesterday. It was nerve racking for me as I worried about whether or not I had taught her enough, and for her as she took her first standardized test. She put so much pressure on herself as she walked around repeatedly telling me that this test could mean she gets into the college she wants or not and all the ways that not getting in would ruin her life.
It all culminated in the moment in the car as I waited to drop her off and she realized that she had no pencil sharpener. "I was supposed to bring one. Do we have time to go back home and find one? I'm not sure where it is, but I need to look." Which left me wondering....didn't they have pencil sharpeners somewhere in the school where she was taking the test? I can't imagine an entire school with no pencil sharpeners....but it has been 20 years since I was in high school..........maybe they just use something else now? It made me a bit nostalgic for a simple #2 pencil. I missed those guys for a second....and then she told me to stop being dumb. We have a whole box of them in the drawer back home.
As she told me for the 3rd time that she was definitely going to throw up, I told her to just breathe. It would be okay. She could always take the test again. It was not a life or death thing. It's just one test.
"But mom.....pencil sharpener? I only have 4 sharp pencils. What if they break?"
I sighed a bit and rolled my eyes a bit....and completely understand her paranoia. She is her father's child. The worrying that makes him a brilliant Computer Guy was making her nuts.
"Just find a nerd boy or an art kid." I told her. "They'll have pencil sharpeners. If you ask nicely, they may let you use them....okay...they may sharpen your pencil for you, because they're never going to let you use their pencil sharpener. Doesn't matter. Sit by them. Stay away from the cute jocks. They won't have sharpeners, and will be lucky if they have enough pencils....they'll be looking to bum a sharpener themselves. Go with the nerds or the art geeks. They're your best bet................................or the swishy boy. He'll need one for his eyeliner."