Test Anxiety

I never enjoyed high school. Not really. I liked the extracurricular activities, like flirting with boys who never really understood I was flirting with them, skipping classes to go to the convenient store three blocks away with my friends and walking endlessly around the school hallways at lunch time.

You know, typical high school stuff.

I kind of liked the clubs and the teams too.

But any joy I found in high school was overshadowed by one thing. Anxiety. Specifically, test anxiety. I didn't mind homework. I didn't mind studying and I all but geeked out over the prospect of writing any type of essay.

But writing an examination of any sort? Scared the bejeepers out of me. It's not like I didn't do well at exams either, because I usually did. Except for that one science test in grade 8 that I totally flunked. And maybe every math test in grade twelve. But every other exam I ever took? A's all the way, baby. I just loathed taking tests.

I was an honors geek until I decided it wasn't worth the effort and then I sort of quit going to school all together except to show up for the exams I so dreaded. If my parents noticed, they never said anything, mostly because I always managed to pull off decent grades on the tests I so feared.


The day I wrote my last high school test I practically did cartwheels out of the school. One of my happiest moments ever. I could literally feel the anxiety slough off of me as I walked away from that school for the last time.

It never occurred to me that I'd have to write exams in post secondary school. I never was the brightest kid in the school. But by the time I finally made it to college, I had two kids and a husband and I was too busy with real world problems like how to pay for both a babysitter and an electric bill when I only had the funds for one, to even worry about how I would do on any exams.

Adulthood kicked all my test anxiety to the curb.

Or so I thought.

It turns out my daughter, the junior, and my son, the sophomore, have managed to do something I never dreamt possible. They've dragged me back to high school hell.

It's semester end and with that comes studying and finals and all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies it. From me. Not them. Neither of my children seem overly worried about taking their tests while I'm sitting here, twitching and having a panic attack on their behalf.

You must be thinking I am too heavily invested in their futures and in desperate need of a life outside parenting my brood, or something.

For the record, you would be right.

I can't help it. I have a deep seated fear my children will live in our garage for the rest of their days, unemployed and eating Cheetos, asking me why I never folded their laundry before it wrinkled in the dryer, as they clip their toenails and ask what I'm making them for dinner.  And it is all because they got a crappy mark in Physics or English.


All these years of avoiding helicoptering and suddenly I'm a roaring Tiger Mom who demands they study for hours on end in exchange for a glass of water and basic bathroom privileges.

I'm cracking the academic whip and my kids are plotting to choke me with it.

I'm fine with that really, as long as they do well on their exams first.

High school. Who knew it would be harder and more stressful the second time around when you have to trust your kids to do it for you?