My Mind Goes Blank!
However, there is one thing that is really bad about it, and that is EXAMS. I hate exams!
I love school, I love reading and writing, English, Art, History, even Maths at times - but EXAMS are the worst! They make me very worried, my hands sweat, my tummy hurts, it feels as if, instead of pretty butterflies swooping and bouncing in my tummy, there are three angry snakes swirling around and chasing their tails!
At school we have had exams all of this week and I have been so nervous, biting my nails, telling the snakes to be still and reading and writing notes, but I am terrified of the morning of the exam and the teacher saying "Turn over your page and begin." I can see myself looking up at the mean, white clock above me, coldly staring at me, and all of a sudden, MY MIND GOES BLANK. I read the question and close my eyes tight and try to remember but ... NOTHING. I read it again and again hoping that maybe a word in the question will remind me. I look around. Everyone is busy scribbling, and I'm stuck there with a blank page staring me in the face! Horrible! Imagine not being able to remember any thing at all? All of the things you had studied gone in a flash! How horrible would that be? Imagine...what a scary thought!
Last week some of us stayed after school for the maths revision class. I like Maths but I am not very good at it, and I really worry that when it comes to the exam I won't remember all those numbers and formulas jumping around in my head. I sat in the class, concentrating very hard, looking at the whiteboard, but with every sum that Mr Davis put up on the board, the more my mind drifted to the exam and the more the snakes started to jump and wriggle in my tummy! I was so worried! What was I going to do? The bell rang and I walked out of the class. I know it sounds silly but I actually had tears in my eyes. What would my parents think if I failed the exam because I could not remember the numbers or how to solve the problem? It would be so unfair, all of this studying and practising, then not to remember anything at all!
I walked along the road past the park but I must have been so deep in concentration that I didn't hear him coming.
"Ahmeti!"I jumped and turned round, Hamish's hand was on my shoulder. Hamish is a new boy in my class, he is Scottish and he is very good at maths. "I have been shouting your name for the past five minutes."
He said he had been running and was almost out of breath. "Couldn't you hear me?.....Hey, what's up?" It's funny how hard it can be to hide how you are feeling when you really feel bad. I could feel my eyes starting to sting and fill with water. The feeling of his hand on my shoulder was just making it worse!
"Nothing" I lied.
"Is it the exam?" he asked. How did he know?
"I was looking at you in the maths class, you looked like you were about to run out the room. Come with me....."
"I can't", I told him, "I need to......" and before I could continue, he was grabbing my hand and leading me across the grass.
"Kneel down" he ordered gently.
"But I have to...."
"Just try it." he said calmly looking me straight in both eyes, "it is going to help ... trust me".
As I kneeled down, the soft, damp grass squashed under my knees. Hamish sat opposite me smiling.
"Now, close your eyes" he said. Close my eyes? What was happening? What was he going to do? "Close your eyes, breathe in slowly through your nose, let your stomach move out completely when you breathe in, and sink all the way in when you breathe out." He said.
His voice had become gentler, his funny accent softer with every word. So I tried it. The air whistled through my nose and my body felt round and full with air and then sunk all the way in as I breathed out.
"Now" he said, "think of the last stupid joke you heard, and smile." I opened my eyes and Hamish was looking at me and smiling. I had never noticed before but he has incredible, blue, blue eyes.
"How do you know that trick?" I said, my head felt a little lighter.
"Karate" he told me, "my teacher says it is the best way to get rid of worrying thoughts, just kneel down, breathe for as long as you need to and, most important of all, think of something funny and smile"
I smiled at Hamish, and suddenly I felt a flutter in my tummy. The snakes were gone and the butterflies were back.........