Monday, June 12, 2006
This past Saturday I had the most exciting time of my approximately 16 and a half years of life; I spent a heavenly four and a half hours taking the American College Test, or ACT. But get this; it wasn't just the ACT, but the ACT with writing. How much luckier can a junior get?
If you have a hard time discerning emotions online then you might not have noticed that the previous statements are meant to be dripping with sarcasm; drowning in it to be more exact. The whole story starts out with a little revelation I had Thursday night that the upcoming Saturday would be one Saturday that I didn't have to take either the SAT Reasoning or subject tests. More importantly, I would still be buried underneath two comforters and pillows at noon instead of half brain dead in one of the rooms of the 500s because I had to be at school at 7:45 AM on a weekend for gosh sakes. Now I do have a first period that requires me to be at school by 7:13, but that's a weekday, and a day that is actually mandatory that I be there.
So incredibly elated was I about this turn of events that I decided to clean my room that night. I'm normally a very neat person but I allow my room to accumulate mess for the schooldays of Monday-Friday and then arm myself with Windex, the vacuum cleaner, furniture polish, and dust rags for a thorough Saturday cleaning. (You can obviously see how happy I was that I cleaned ahead of schedule.) As I finished dusting and sorting through Mount Everest sized stacks of paper; I noticed a little envelope from ACT headquarters in Iowa City, Iowa.
You can only imagine the horrible feeling I experienced when I noticed the test date was set for 8:00 AM at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose, Saturday, June 10, 2006. It wasn't a "horrible, sinking feeling"; it was Jet Li doing roundhouse kicks in my stomach. I was, however, grateful that it wasn't Mike Tyson biting my ear of or anything. Whew.
School on Friday seemed to fly by and by the time I knew it, it was 11 PM and I was debating whether or not I should go. I didn't buy a test prep booklet for the ACT and I didn't even print out directions for this 'Santa Teresa High School'. But in the end, I looked at my receipt in the envelope and my inner Scrooge said "Bah humbug! You're not wasting $43. Think of the half-penny of interest it'll earn in the bank!" And that was that; I decided to print out directions from MapQuest and visit the ACT website for any practice questions.
I frantically hit the mute button on my keyboard as wannabe action movie music blared from my speakers. I looked at the opening page of the actstudent.org website and shook my head at the mini-movie with moving blobs of color and the words: 'The test day is coming. Ready?' zooming across the screen. The word 'zooming' is probably too good to describe
the organization's obvious attempt to be 'cool' and appeal to us teenagers.
Scanning the quick links to the left I clicked on 'Bring this to test center'. After reading the first two items reminding me to bring an ID and admissions ticket, I nearly screamed bloody murder at the third item: 'Sharpened soft lead No. 2 pencils with good erasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens)'. Holy! I haven't used one of those wood pencils since I was in elementary school. I looked halfheartedly through a small box of writing utensils on my desk for a regular pencil, but I knew I didn't own anything. By now it was 11:30 and I was half asleep. I said 'heck no' to the practice tests and instead, stealthily crept into my youngest brother's room and rifled through his backpack. I didn't know what kind of monster created such a rule—a rule that pushed an older sister to steal from her younger, preschool brother.
As I placed two of his pencils into my bag and prepared to go to sleep, I decided that I should cut the people at ACT headquarters a little slack about the pencil ordeal because they probably don't have mechanical pencils in Iowa. Oh you know I jest. Actually, it was a little bit of Bay Area elitism, but since my test score still has about 4-7 weeks to be mailed to me, I probably shouldn't be slipping up like that.
I woke up bright and early at 6 AM to plenty of grey clouds and the absence of chirping birds. Rushing through a morning routine I made it out the door by 6:30. By the time I arrived at the High School it was 7:45 and there was already a large mass of other students, and their parents, swarming the grounds. As I walked to the sign listing last names and corresponding rooms I reminisced taking the SATs at beloved James Logan High School. Being that my last name is 'Childers', I fit in between 'Chen-Degner' in room 206.
Our proctor promptly checked IDs and assigned people to seats around the room. She then proceeded to read, verbatim, from the booklet. I can't tell you how much that irks me. She clung to that silly booklet like it was a box of Godiva chocolate; which I would have traded the booklet for any day. Come on now, do you really need to read a welcoming statement as simple as 'Hello'? No wonder people from other countries think we're the 'brash, rude Americans'. Makes more sense doesn't it?
I know this seems like it is incomplete, or perhaps an abrupt ending, but everything in between that time period on Saturday is a complete blank for me. They probably brainwashed me. I apologize ahead of time to all my teachers if I fail your finals; it really isn't my fault that all of the material was extracted by the ACT organization. Watch for me on
Monday because I'm the girl with the stylish mohawk since I methodically pulled out clumps of hair through the four sections and the essay. On a brighter, more encouraging tip for all the juniors of the future: I suggest making like a monk in a monastery and just go bald. All the best!