The Baer Necessities

Wiggle Your Toes

I have two words for you. Two words that we all experience some time during our high school career. Two words that make some cry themselves to sleep. Two words that cause hyperventilating or nervous shaking. Yes, I’m talking about test anxiety.

It was when I was an innocent little sophomore that I first experienced this life-threatening malady. Only a few weeks into the year, I was having trouble in my math class. We were moving at a rapid pace, and I was surprised when I had trouble with my homework.

On my way to math class on the morning of the chapter one test, I staggered up the cheese grater stairs, shaking and losing my balance. I opened the door and hurried into the cold, tense room where all of my classmates were with their faces buried in their textbooks.

“You have thirty minutes, class. Now, go!”

Thirty minutes!? What!? Thirty minutes was not long enough to take a test! Was she joking? My heart started beating like the Energizer bunny, and my breathing sped up to a speed I had never reached even while sprinting. Calm down, Stephanie, calm down.

What are the 11 field axioms? I know this, I know this I know this.

I couldn’t think of anything because there was a big, gray cloud in my head hiding the answers.

“Pencils down!”

What?! I wasn’t even close to being done. I reluctantly passed my test forward as I looked around at my classmates, whose faces were as red as ripe tomatoes. They looked like they were on the verge of crying. Thank God I wasn’t alone.

That was the first math test I ever scored a C- on. In telling my dad this, he gave me a big Baer hug and revealed a surprising secret to me. He told me to wear socks whenever I had a test because he thought that having his feet warm made his brain work better. This seemed silly to me, but it still made me feel better.

The next math test went much better. My warm feet made me feel comfortable in the room that used to be deathly cold. I finished that test and received a better score. It may sound silly, but I really believe the socks had something to do with it.

Since then, I’ve tried to wear socks to all of my tests as a comforting tool. For those who normally wear socks, this technique may have little effect on you. But for people like me who wear sandals every single day, socks create a comfort zone. I always keep a pair of socks with me in my backpack or car so that I can always be comfortable.

Even though I still experience test anxiety, my socks allow me to suppress the malady for periods of time. They give me room to wiggle my toes so that I can still do my best on whatever test may trouble me.