Sunday, 14 May 2017

Exams and My Low Self-Confidence

I have extremely bad self-confidence. This is something that I rarely like to talk about but I feel like I should do more. Cut a very long story short, I was bullied quite severely in Year 7 because I had a pixie cut (yes, I am aware that seems like a petty thing to be bullied over, but it happened), and because I was one of the shyest in my year at the time. I was emotionally and physically bullied to the point that when someone compliments me, I won't believe them. 

I've recently started my GCSE exams (GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education if you didn't know), and my first was Drama - one of the subjects which I want to continue studying for A Level. For this exam, I have to put on a thirty-minute play that fits into a theme that the exam board sets, and perform it to an external examiner who comes in and marks me on the spot (I am in a group for this exam). In short, I was given the role of the main character which meant that I had this very long monologue to learn. I was fairly nervous about this monologue, I didn't think that I was good enough to perform it, nor even be the character that I was assigned - so most of the time in rehearsals I would ask if we could skip the scene where my monologue came in. 

As my Drama exam got closer, I started getting more nervous over my monologue - whilst I was the main character, I had the least amount of lines meaning that the majority of my marks will come from this monologue. To study A Level Drama at my choice of Sixth Form, I need at least a B+ or an A, and I convinced myself that the way I was performing my lines was at a D, maybe an E grade. I started to get worked up over this monologue because I knew I wasn't good enough to be this character, and my marks were going to be non-existant. 

Around three days before the exam, my group, and the others, did a whole dress rehearsal to parents and teachers, and this was one of the first times I performed my monologue in front of an audience. I was terrified. Thankfully, I had a chance to run through my monologue with my teacher, and whilst she told me that I would get a fantastic grade from the way that I've performed it, I couldn't see how she could think that. In the dress rehearsal, we got to the part where my monologue came in, and I was shaking. I said my lines as best I could, and walked off stage, concluding the performance. From what people have told me, my monologue was great and I should be proud of myself. I would stand there as people were saying this to me, and I would think only negative thoughts about myself because I knew that there had to be some way of performing it better. 

The day of the exam I was a mess, I was shaking, nervous, and I couldn't think straight. I was trying to think of ways to improve myself from the time I got to school, to the time of my exam, which was thankfully in the afternoon. It got to the point that I had a panic attack - and it took twenty minutes for both my Drama teachers and my friends to calm me down. They were all trying to say to me that the lowest grade I might get would be an A, but I sat there, shaking my head, as I tried to explain to them that my acting is terrible. I was fine with my basic lines, as they were mainly one word, but it was the monologue that was stressing me out the most. 

Then the exam came, and my group was the first to perform. 

As we were all performing, I was trying my hardest to be this character. I thought that I was doing pretty well, and when I looked over to the examiner, they were scrawling down notes, and I hope that they were all nothing but positive. 

I went backstage right before my monologue and I had to give myself a pep-talk (yes, this may have been a silly thing to do, but this was my last chance to get the grade that I wanted). I walked out on stage, delivered my lines, and waited for the lights to go down. And, as soon as I said my last line, I could hear crying from the back of the Drama Studio. The moment that the examiner left the room to mark my group, my entire class came running up to me, some of them were in tears. This, of course, made me and my group cry too. 

All of this made me realise something: I should believe what people say to me more. The way my class acted after I performed my monologue gave me some sort of wake-up call - my Drama teacher was right after all, I did perform my monologue well. 

I guess I had to write this because I needed to get this off of my chest. And even though I have to take about twenty more exams, I feel just that little more confident that I can smash these exams and get the grades I want in August. 


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.