My hands were achy and my body was sweating. As I completed the hardest test of the school year, all of my worst fears were coming to life. I had finished the test fifteen minutes after everyone else in my class. As the other class came in, with condescending looks and whispers, I knew I had failed. Finally, I had finished the test, and left with emotions bouncing off the walls. With an entire year of feeling insecure and looked down upon, I had messed up the last chance I had to prove myself. As the day carried on, I tried to build up a sense of realistic optimism. After all, if it took me that long, maybe the teacher would like my ideas.
Several days passed. The grades were posted. I knew that I would have to see the score eventually, and there was no point to build myself up waiting. With my heartbeat pounding, I held my breath and took a look at my score.
One hundred percent.
Looking back on that day, all this tension that had been build up in the past year, all the fears of school and intelligence, all of the little worries I had, seemed ungrounded; disappeared. Just like that. I had gotten the highest possible score, and finally reaffirmed the confidence in myself. As I continued on the rest of my day, a goofy smile was on my face as a great feeling of freedom and relief replaced the feeling of nervousness and tightness. Everything was fine.