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I remember when I had to take my *SEA exams. I was fine up until the night before when it suddenly hit me that this was it. This wasn’t one of the million practice exams that the teachers had given us, all of which I failed by the way. I was always a very happy, chasing after fairies child. Nothing ever really bothered me. I didn’t know what I had or what I didn’t, so this was one of my first real introduction to the world moments.

I don’t remember exactly what I thought at the time. This was something I had to do by myself, no one could help me. My friends were going into the exam with me but I still had to answer the questions on my own. Growing up with four brothers and sisters and tons of cousins, this was the first time that I felt so alone.

I know people have their different beliefs and it’s because of their life’s experiences that make them think that way. Well, it’s the same with me. My life experiences is why I have the beliefs I have, so brace yourselves, I’m gonna talk about God. Gasp!

I may have felt alone that night but my mother was quick to remind me that that was not so. Wherever I went, God was with me, and if I didn’t prepare because I was just an airy brained baby, which I was, then all I could do was my best at this point.

When I went to school the next day the teachers all took us to the court yard and we joined hands and prayed. I went to a Catholic primary school, uniforms and all, an although I’m not Catholic, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a boy’s and a girl’s school right next to each other and the church was across the street and those were the best years of my life thus far.

Our teachers reminded us like my mother did that although we sat alone in that exam room, God was with us and that we were all good students and we should have faith in our abilities as well, not fear. Needless to say, with all the strength and support around me I was back to my airy brained self because of the faith that I saw my teachers and my mother had in me to do well, and I did pass.

If it’s one thing I learned from those days is that despite your beliefs, faith is key. Whether it’s faith in God, faith in yourself, or the faith that you can see in someone else for you, faith can drive us forward and take away fear which only keeps us back.

So, for all my SEA students going into that exam today, be strong and of good courage. I have faith in you! Back when I went to primary school it was called the Common Entrance Exams, not the Secondary Entrance Assessment Exam, woo-whoo! Do I feel old! However, I still remember how it felt, I know how you feel. So, I’ll tell you what I was told then.

Believe in yourself. You couldn’t have gone to school all those years and not picked something up, just try your best. Have faith in your abilities, don’t let fear of failure get you confused. Forget all the pressure and all the bad comments. You may feel alone but you are never alone. God is with you at all times. I may not know any Muslim or Hindu prayers of courage for my kiddies from these religions but I do know one from a Christian point of view that maybe can still give you courage.

I know. We all understand ‘fear’ and ‘love’, even the smallest child has an idea. I can just hear my niece asking though, ‘Aunty, what does sound mind mean?’ It means having a clear head and understanding, being calm and not being worried. This is how God wants you to be, clear headed and calm and by power, it means confident. All of these involve faith. Go into that exam like that today and just do your best.

Written by – Travesaou

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*SEA – Secondary Entrance Assessment Exam – A national exam used to facilitate the placement of students into Secondary Schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Normally taken by students from ages 10 to 12.

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