Sunday, June 13, 2010

Preparing for the Exam

Even as I redouble my studying efforts to prepare for my real estate exam, which is coming up very soon, I am trying to remember to take the time to balance work and play. I can be rather obsessive about studying and have been known in my academic career to study all day---which has not been a disadvantage. There is something comforting and familiar about that "other" place my mind goes when I am learning: it is almost a form of deeply quiet meditation. One of the reason I have seldom joined study groups (maybe a handful of times in life) is that I prefer the peaceful quiet that comes from immersing myself solitarily into complete concentration on one mental task.

As I get older, and particularly as I have children, it is not possible to be in my zen-like study zone for as long as I could be. I also have realized in my age that I have a tendency to overstudy for significant tests. That's a fine trait in high school, but as a mommy and wife with many responsibilities, the trick for me now is to target just the right amount of studying in order to reserve as many hours as possible for my family.

That said, I enjoyed a glorious four-hour study session yesterday. Almost every spare moment that Katie has been asleep this week, I have been studying. I have had to adjust to starting and stopping my studying based on her schedule, but yesterday Bill gave me a full four hours of complete immersion. I vacillate between feeling confident as I go into the test and more recently, feeling absolutely anxious about my imperfect knowledge of the subject. I cannot WAIT to have this test behind me so I can focus on the other fun we have planned this summer.

When I added my Saturday study sessions to my schedule, initially I felt some guilt about taking time away from Katie. As it has turned out, it has become an opportunity to teach her about setting goals and taking action to meet them---and it has been good for her, I think, to see what studying really looks like. I have shared with her some of the tricks and devices I use for myself, and we talk about doing homework. I share with her that yes, I actually really like studying and that, if you really want to achieve something, you need to put in the hard work. She also knows that accomplishing my real estate license will give us all flexibility in the future. In my own mind, I also know that mothers, especially those of us who stay at home, need to plan for the future. Anything could happen to our husbands---we need to be able to provide.

As I said though, I will be excited to sit for my test---and nervous, too, since I dread the possibility of failing it---because I do want to resume focus on many other hobbies and activities. I am taking a bit of time this morning while Katie finishes sleeping to write this blog: every other morning and Katie-asleep time this week as been dedicated to studying. I see my books over to my left and worry that I should be working with them instead... Yet I think today I am going to take a bit of a break and let my mind assimilate some of the knowledge it already has.

Will the time I have put in be enough?