I remember preparing for the test or final exam in school. I could have been better at being proactive and studying, but I thought I had paid enough attention in class to get through the grueling assessment that would either propel me forward or keep me in the same place. 

The day of the test arrives, and as I step into the classroom, a mix of optimism and caution fills me. I admit I should've dedicated more time, especially after seeing the room filled with students who appeared ready to conquer their fate. The contrast between their preparedness and my readiness is stark, and unease washes over me.  

As the instructor handed out the test, I took a moment to review the questions. I read each one carefully, trying to understand its nuances and connections. This way, I could prepare my mind for what was to come and move through the test more efficiently. It was a strategy I had used, and it worked. 

Doing it that way is more chaotic, so I decided to go with the flow and start from the beginning. Indeed, if I work through the logical steps, I can reach the desired destination. 

Thirty minutes into the exam, I see people starting to complete their tests. How did they breeze through that so fast? I also noticed that some folks didn't have all the answers during a regular class, so maybe I was still in good company. 

Forty-five minutes into the exam, I saw who I believed was one of the most competent people in the class who handed in their test. My pits immediately started to sweat as I noticed I still had ten more questions to go. My anxiety rose, and I felt myself begin to slowly lose control until I took a deep breath and focused. 

Finally, I was done after an hour of intense focus and effort. I had reviewed my answers, and I felt confident in my performance. With a sense of accomplishment, I got up from my desk, walked to the instructor, and handed in my test. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. 

As it turns out, I did enough to pass the test, and while I was concerned about all those around me, the results were personal to me. There's a possibility someone may have received the same score as me, but the difference is that we didn't get the same answers wrong. 

At that moment, it dawned on me that it was never about who finished first or who was the smartest. My trajectory and success hinged solely on my efforts and determination.  


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