Prepare for the Worst

I am an avowed realist.  This means that I tend to expect that Murphy's Law will apply to any and all situations and that if I keep my expectations low, more often than not, I will end up pleasantly surprised.

In my twenty-seven years thus far, this mindset has proven to work for me.

It's not exactly optimistic, I realize.

You may have read that my PE exam is coming up this Friday once or twice (or 637 times).  Since it seemed appropriate to do so, I finally read the portion of my review manual entitled, "What to Do a Few Days Before the Exam".

The suggestions seem exhaustive from checking tires pressure on the car, making childcare arrangements, planning alternate roots to the testing facility, to packing a wire coat hanger in the bookbag in case you should need to break into your own car after the test, putting a jeweler's screwdriver with your things in case you need to fix your eyeglasses or calculator midway through the test, and packing pre-unwrapped candies for consumption during the exam.

But it gets better...

The next section is entitled, "Prepare for the Worst".

Apparently, the dude who wrote this manual thinks along the same lines as me.  Maybe it's an engineer thing.

I'm not going to type all of the examples out, but I will reiterate a few of my favorites.
Imagine a Star Trek convention, square-dancing contest, construction, or auction in the next room.
Imagine a hard folding chair and a table with one short leg.
Imagine not being able to get your lunch out of your car or find a restaurant.
Imagine someone stealing your calculator during lunch.
Imagine a seat where someone nearby chews gum with an open mouth; tapes his pencil or drums her fingers; or wheezes, coughs, and sneezes for eight hours.
Imagine a site without any heat, with poor lighting, or with sunlight streaming directly into your eyes.
~Civil Engineer Reference Manual for the PE Exam, Michael R. Lindeburg, PE 
I read them and laughed.  He saw my realism and raised it to cynicism.  By preparing for the worst, and expecting such, it can only be better than our greatest fears.  Right?!

This is why I maintain my expectation to fail.  Does that mean I won't work my hardest at it?  No.  But it means that by expecting notification that I didn't pass sometime around Christmas (I know, right?), I will be oh-so-very pleasantly surprised if I do.  And hopefully no more disappointed in the event that I don't.

In the meantime, I think I've picked myself up a new mantra, "Preparing for the worst."  (wink, wink)

Does this method of thinking work for you?


Debbie said...

That husband of mine would say that you just described me. I call myself a realist. He calls me a pessimist. He calls himself an optimist, and I can him Peter Pan.

Go ahead and prepare for the worst. I intend to pray otherwise just to prove you wrong. I like proving nerdy girls wrong. It drives them crazy.


Sharon Kirby said...

Jennie - Only you can make me laugh at truth! (Even at the last punchline - your post label - "I'm just crazy" - too, too funny.

YES! I have been accused of being a pessimist ALL MY LIFE! (Can you detect the mild frustration in that sentence - HA!) I like to think my way works well for me. Here's an example: I've had times when I was waiting for a test result to come back - I, of course, will think the worst (preparation, in my opinion) and husband thinks everything will be just fine (blind, naive, silly viewpoint...just sayin').

The way I look at it, I want to be prepared for the worst. So I kinda do a future "cheat" on it - let my emotions and thoughts wrap around the worst-case scenario, and sorta allow some of the fear and disappointment to at least show up on my radar. Then, IF the worst happens, I'm a little better prepared. If it doesn't - then WOO HOO! Good news is EVEN BETTER because it wasn't what I was expecting!!

Expect the worst, hope for the best. That's kinda my motto.

I wrote a novel here - Debbie understands... :)

One other thing to prepare for (this really happened to me while taking a LONG final exam):

Imagine your bra strap breaking, and spending the rest of the test trying to hold your "girls" in with one hand, while writing a dissertation with the other - and trying to make it un-obvious, so people don't think you're weirdly touching yourself...

Uh huh - not a pretty picture!!

Sherri said...

When I was young like you, I sat for the CPA exam, which was like a two and a half day test I think. Five sections, so much garbage to know...I was so stressed! So I just assumed I wouldn't pass ANY of it, and went on my merry way with studying and all. Oh, and I had NO KIDS back then.

But if I had these wonderful ideas (like the Star Trek convention!) maybe I wouldn't have worried so much??

Best of luck to you!!

Jennie said...

I love it! I *knew* I liked each of you ladies. I'm in good (crazy) company, huh? There is strength in numbers. And all of those other cliches. ;)

I appreciate the encouragement, though I think you know that will go in one ear and out the other. Ha! (No really...thank you!)

And now I know to wear a sports bra...because you just never know. LOL

Denise said...

How sad that the sports bra thing wouldn't matter to me...I had a broken (not hooked in the back actually) bra strap the other day and didn't fix it until I got home. Sadly, it didn't make any difference AND no one noticed. I guess it just depends on how big the girls are!

Good luck on your exam. I'll be praying!

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