Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Day at the Exam

In case you didn't know (of course not, I didn't tell anyone!) about my taking the entrance exam for Shida Uni's Dept. of Translation, here's a big view of what happened today.

After some serious nightmare and sort of paranoia, I made it through the days before the exam by filling up my time with reading both Chinese and English newspapers and trying to translate one another once in a while. The whole sequence comes down to today's result.

Yes, you know I couldn't really sleep well and I've been toss and turn in bed worrying that I might make it, and also scared by the thought of making it through because that means I will have to give up my work and my source of income immediately becomes another concern. "It's a breakthrough," I told myself. Life cannot be always the same and I know that somehow and someway I will have to make a progress by doing something that's going to pull me out of what I'm comfortable with, if not always with joy.

Ok, back to the subject, I woke up shortly before 7AM and was able to snooze for a few more minutes before my other alarm went off. I got up, thinking I will NEVER make it to do another practice before leaving for the exam venue, I quickly dress myself (without any actual DRESSES, thank you!) and got on my way.

U-huh, I got there in time! I swear I will never ride my scooter when something important comes along! The parking took me about 5 minutes and I really regretted. But I found a parking spot anyway. Parked, dashed into the Shida Senior High campus, walking while having a bite of my sandwich I bought along the way, I just reached there before the bell rang for preparation.

The time table is as follows:
08:10 - 09:40 --> Translations
10:00 - 11:40 --> Mandarin Chinese
13:10 - 14:40 --> English

I just realized last night that all the tests are only held for 90 minutes, 30 minutes shorter of how I practiced during the previous week. Oh, hell! I need to speed up! And it turned out that the translation exam only contained two articles. One Chinese-to-English, and vice versa. Both written from the same author, Anthony C. Yu (余國藩), who is an acclaimed scholar and an important translator who introduced the Chinese literature into the Western world. So I got everything right, and wrote the Chinese translation. That took me a long time but somehow I was quite happy with. Later, the Chinese-to-English part, got my pulse running because I only have 20 minutes left!! And it's about 200 to 300 words of Chinese! I rushed and rushed. When the ending bell rang, as the inspectors called out, "Please put down your pens!" I was still writing my final sentences right until he (or was it a she!?) arrived my desk to take away my test paper. I swear I might have a heart attack if I do it again!

The second period came quickly as 15 minutes went pass by. Chinese, in spite of being my native language, is considered the hardest one to master, and also is my least confident category. Not that I can't write for a penny, but the fact that lacking of serious and in-depth researching of those confusing ancient lexicon. I don't hate it but wished that I had worked harder while in high school. And luckily, the exam didn't come about testing my knowledge on Confucionism nor the philosophy of Tao, it simply asked me to re-write (many times) of articles or abstract the essence of a certain article to two versions. It also includes re-writing an article to a recipe kind of format. I smile when I saw it, I guess. Mm, perhaps I will cook some sweet taro soon.

The real tragedy was (or remains) to be running out of my correction tape while completing my first few sentences! I was petrified and afraid that if I make any mistakes I will be as dead as the taro (okay, maybe the lard) that I was writing about. But somehow I managed through it and gave a not-so-pretty-looking essay. Time was running out, but I completed with a big relief. Gotta pack up with white-out (correction pen) later.

During lunch break, I tried to grab a seat at the nearby Dante Cafe, but lining up with 15 something people in a tiny restaurant wasn't being considered. I stopped by the 7-11 next door and was shocked by the 30-something shoppers waiting to pay. But with their super skill at the cash register, the clerks quickly got rid of them and I was able to buy twice of what I needed, including the correction pen. I went back to the high school and found a place to sit down and drink my latte. After that I read some newspaper then before I knew it, the bell rang again and the afternoon exam began.

You know what? I think I'm pretty much of a genius because I was able to guessed (really! I predicted it!!) that what the test would be about. "disposition" (which I come across quite often, yet still a new word to me) and "daunting"(I looked it up in the dictionary yesterday from reading the Hugo Weaving interview featured in the newspaper yesterday.) And guess what what? BINGO!!! They both appeared on my test papers.

The English test was all about writing skills. First you had to give remarks and complete the articles by reading a few lines of them. Then you were asked to re-write two articles into 90 to 120 words of abstracts, without using the same phrases or copying the sentences within the original ones. I think I managed through it and got some good ideas about writing thanks to my daily practice of teaching and reading numerous blogs(not true) and occasional writings(very seldom). One was about how to write a successful resume, and the other was about the new country separated from Indonesia called East Timor where people are suffering from hunger despite the fact the government makes huge money out of gas and oil fields. It's really all about writing skills and the potency. (Gosh I sound like a better writer already or what!?) As I finished writing, there were still 5 minutes for me to double-check. Oh, the guy next me is still sleeping...

The bell rang. I walked out of the campus, feeling like screaming and letting the pressure out of myself. But I didn't. I was afraid that this misbehave would scared the thousands of participants. Screw them!! Ok, I just screamed while writing heehee.

I can't imagine how the days will go by as I wait for the secondary result comes out on the 6th of April. That's only two weeks away! There are more preparations that I need to do including writing my autobiography from 800 to 1,000 words. But I'm just glad that I didn't do half bad, considering this is going to be a mere 2% chance of success. We'll see and more news will come soon.

Stayed tuned!


Anonymous joyce said...

haven't been here for a while. it's nice to catch up with you over the internet. :) sounded like an intense test, but i'm sure you did very well!

2:04 PM  
Blogger JT said...

Hey there! I'm so glad that you stop by! Will see you in October! And why not tell your friends so they will probably give me more suggestions on how to improve my site etc. Ciao!

1:02 AM  

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