I took my state certification exam for the nursing assistant program on Saturday. I am thankful it is over because I was getting pretty tired of studying. The fact that the boys had finals last week and I had this made for an emotionally draining week overall. Following are my observations from the test day:
1. I felt a sense of pride at having completed the CNA program. The test was the final loose end to complete. Whenever one finishes a project or course of study, there is that sense of satisfaction at having seen it through to the end.
2. There were many folks taking the test a good 10-15 years older than I am so that made me feel as though I am not the only one out there scrambling to get a foot in the door by studying for a short-term certificate.
3. One of my fellow classmates told me that her friend with a master's in psych. has been out of work for some time as a marriage and family therapist. I asked her what the friend has been doing and she said nothing. So again, I felt good that I took the needed steps to make myself more marketable with the current economy. It also made me realize that I'm not the only person out there with an advanced/specialized degree encountering trouble finding full-time employment.
4. This same classmate brought up another woman from our class. She asked me if I knew that she and her family, totaling nine people, all live together in a two-bedroom apartment. I knew this woman had remarried and her three children joined the four of her new husband but I had thought they lived in a home. I replied, "How can they do it?" and my classmate said, "They make it work." Hearing this story made me realize that there are others out there making sacrifices. The reason this even came up was that I made a comment about how lovely this woman's daughter is, a recent high school grad. The mom and her daughter took the CNA course together and now the daughter is enrolled in a nursing program. So despite her having shared a very small residence with her large family, she turned out from all indications to be well adjusted and productive.
5. A mini drama unfolded as we were all admitted into the large testing room. A poor young woman rushed in late clutching her car insurance card. She explained that she had just lost her driver's license, which she was going to use as a picture ID - she did not have any other photo ID. It was explained to her that without a current photo ID she could not be admitted to take the test but would have to do so next month. It was sad to see this young woman crying as she was almost physically forced from the area - she wouldn't stop pleading or explaining. As I saw her I thought how terrible the situation must seem for her at the moment. But that life would go on and that she will reapply for the test and simply have to retake it in February. I certainly felt her despair but was able to look past it and see that in the grand scheme of things, yes, it is a setback but not as terrible a one that really could be.
6. There were one or two questions I did not have a clue how to answer on the test and a couple that I didn't think were well written - I thought all of the answers were incorrect! Of course, I did my best to select what I felt was the best response. Bottom line - sometimes I won't know the right answer, sometimes all the available responses will look wrong but I still have to pick one. And after doing so it is best to not dwell on what was picked and to believe that it was correct and the outcome will be all good!
7. In the parking lot while circling for a space , a college student backed into the front side of my van as she pulled out. This was totally her error (she didn't see me) and except for a slightly bent hubcap, I didn't see or believe there to be any damage so I let it go. Filling out a report would have made me miss the test, although looking back it probably should have been done. I did take down the terrified girl's information. In the past, I've let occurrences like this go. It just made me reflect on the reality that sometimes it is not us, nothing we've done or not done - it is something that happens because of someone else and there really wasn't anything that could have been done about it.
Today I am grateful for:
1. Liveable winter weather
2. The trees I saw covered with a dusting of snow that looked like they had been dipped in powder sugar
3. The white and blue lights on some trees left over from holiday displays, still lit in some office complexes - they are so pretty in a wintry way
4. Toasted English muffins spread with butter and orange marmalade
5. The spotless bathroom at the very clean rest stop I went to this morning