I had my comprehensive exam last Saturday– my library school final exam. Three essay questions, pass/fail, my biggest concern was writing that much in a blue book without my hand seizing up. Prior to the test, Jewish Friend and I got together once to read over the Library Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights, but other than that, I wasn’t sweating it at all.
My co-workers, all of whom have been librarians for 10+ years, were bent on calming me down and giving me sage advice, which I accepted graciously. I assured them that I was not stressed about it, and most accepted that– except one.
The gentleman whom I work with on Thursdays is a talker. I spend most of my shift listening to him tell me things. For the most part, it’s fine, he’s entertaining; when I ask a question and it take 45 minutes of my four-hour shift to get an answer– I get a bit annoyed. He also has told me on a number of occasions how good he is at “reading” people and understanding body language and social cues– then he keeps me 5-10 minutes late regaling me with mini lectures after I’ve very obviously taken my name-tag off and am trying to move toward the exit.
He was either miffed that I didn’t seem stressed enough (don’t know how stressed he was about his comprehensive exam), or miffed that he didn’t have an opportunity to dispense enough sage advice because he spend the better part of my shift yesterday telling me how stressed I was about comps, and how I’ve buried those feelings.
“Look at you.” he indicated the fact that I was about to blow my nose, “you’ve been sick since you started working here. You’re taking the stress of comps and internalizing it. That’s why you’re always drinking water too.”
“Ok, this is a cold.” I told him, “And I ran six miles before I came in today– hence the water.”
He just gave me a knowing look.
I admit I stress about school. From late February through the end of April, I become an incredibly dull person because I’m either stressing about school and avoiding doing homework by watching TV on DVD, or shifting my focus completely to some other inane obsession like online survey taking or scrabble. I admit that I stress about school, but I will not admit to stressors I haven’t felt.
“I’ve been stressed about every other thing I’ve had to do this semester.” I told him, “Like annotated bibliographies, presentations, and papers, but I promise you, I was not stressed about the comps.”
He said something that indicated that I will be much healthier when I own my feelings, and then went out to smoke a cigarette.
If you doubt me, please, ask anyone about my behavior prior to the test. Despite what my co-worker thinks, I was not a ball of anxiety. If I get my test back and find out I failed, then I will begin crapping my pants, but please do not insist that I don’t know whether or not something is getting to me.