The Tale of the Territorial Test Taker

Ilana Rahim Braden04/01/2022April 2022



I’ve always had trouble with school. Every time I take a test, it’s like some fundamental part of me breaks. I can’t bear to turn the test in. Nothing about school in the past has seemed to make me feel less of myself, not even having to ask extra questions or doing mediocre classwork. It took me a while before I realized what was wrong.

At first, I’d be quiet the whole day, not giving any sort of attention to the lessons of the day, mainly because all that I could think about was the upcoming test. During the test, I’d work my hardest, but the whole time I’d be in a daze of some sort, unable to rein in my thoughts. I’d be seething and raging when I got home, absolutely devastated about my test. But my worry wasn’t about the grade. During my midterms, I started to panic. I wasn’t able to control my impulses. I held my scantron and packet close in my arms and ran out the room, making a leaping dive for the staircases, which I promptly tumbled down. Sure, I was covered in bruises, but my test and I were free! No longer did I have to just give away my hard work! I didn’t have to let those filthy adults scribble all over my precious baby with red and black ink! I gave my midterms a fat sloppy kiss and ran home to frame it in my room. Public transportation be damned, I reached my home in a record 10 minutes! After framing my special treasure on my wall, I began to make a mural around the golden spot where my test rested. Knowing this happiness, there’s no way I could let the teachers try and take another test from me. I keep the tests of the month in my closet, my bag, and my locker. Not even the quizzes go neglected. And, sure, you may say that this makes the zeroes pile up. You may say that I have no more room in my closet for my clothes. You might even claim that my behaviors are obsessive and unhealthy, but my papers are safe, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m happy. I will fight tooth and nail for that right. My teachers, advisors, and guidance counselors have no idea what it was like to feel all that anxiety without an explanation. I’m never going back to that. They may say that my hissing and kicking is deranged, but tell me, beloved reader, which is more deranged? Stealing a piece of hard work from an innocent student, or keeping your test papers safe?

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