both a reassurance and a curse
When I went to take my written test for my learner's permit (probably a little less than a year ago), I saw this middle-aged guy at a computer testing station about two seats away from me with a book in his lap. Upon closer inspection, this book was a Myanmar to English/English to Myanmar dictionary. This poor guy was slogging through this test, word by word, flipping frantically through his dictionary trying to figure out what "merge" and "signal" meant in Myanmar before answering.
My first thought? Wow, that's rough. But if this Burmese guy who doesn't even speak English can pass his written driving test, surely I can too.
My second though? Wow, if this Burmese guy who doesn't even speak English passes the test and I don't, I am going to be extremely embarrassed.
As it was, I was probably just one question away from failing that written driving test. (Though to be fair, almost all the questions that I got wrong were related to various speed limits in various zones--couldn't I just look at the speed limit signs in real life?) But I passed. And I think about that Burmese guy sometimes still. I hope he passed too.
Anyway, the point of me writing this is because, well, obviously I'm taking the oral boards in a few days. And I'm not overly stressed about it, I think it will be fine, though of course occasionally, I will think, OMG OMG THE ORAL BOARDS OMG and I'll get a little anxious that I'll get nailed with the crazy obscure stem question about the quadriplegic achondroplastic dwarf newborn with mucopolysaccharidosis, and that my examiners will be a tag team known as "Bad Cop" and "Worse Cop." But several people have tried to calm me (and they said that this was the most comforting piece of reassurance, or at least perspective, that they themselves received before their oral boards) is that a good number of my co-test-takers are foreign nationals and actually don't speak English very well, so I, aside from being reasonably well-trained, at least have a huge advantage in the fact that I, you know, grew up speaking the language in which the exam is administered.
And that is a little reassuring, I suppose. But my second thought? Wow, if this Burmese guy who doesn't even speak English passes the oral boards and I don't, I'm going to be extremely embarrassed.
(Of course this is in no way to discredit those colleagues among us--my parents included, each Board Certified in their respective fields--who have tackled the extremely unruly language of English and managed to get through all the hurdles just as us native speakers have. I couldn't do what you have done. Bravo.)