She woke that morning with more butterflies in her stomach than she had ever felt in her whole life. This was her day to prove herself and she knew it. For the past two years, she had been the largest push over with all the boys in her class. Today was her day to attest that she could keep up with them. She got dressed for the day, putting on a pair of pinstriped dress slacks that were trendy but still professional with a white, freshly ironed polo shirt. As she walked out the door, she thought to herself, all she had to do was to keep her head on straight and her mind focused.
At 8:30 a.m., she walked into the building where she was to test as her nervousness was growing stronger. She saw her competition unpacking all of their supplies and setting up for the day. She noticed that all of her competition was of the male gender but she had already told herself that she was not going to let that bother her.
She found her seat, sat down, and began setting up her things. The routine was natural for her; she took the laptop and router out of her bag and began to connect cables that she could have done with her eyes closed. After getting everything just the way she liked it and was used to, she took her seat and waited for the competition to start at 9:00 a.m.
Once all the rules were explained, she was to start the written exam. Amazingly, she was moving quite quickly through the test. She had just taken her certification test for networking the previous month and these questions were very similar which she had fresh in her head. The test took her twenty minutes instead of the hour that was allotted. Feeling quite confident, she turned in her test to the judges.
Next, was the cabling part of competition. If she were to fail in any area of competition, this was it. Taking a deep breath, she listened to the man in charge of this area and then began to get her supplies. She put on her safety glasses, opened her tools, and grabbed a strand of cabling along with two RJ45 ends. She sat down at one of the tables designated for cabling and began to talk herself through the process that she did not know as well as the previous test. When she had completed the cable she was instructed to build, she turned it in feeling unsure of her performance.
Moving onto the interview of all the contestants, she was already very flustered because of the cabling event. Composing herself, she sat down in front of the judges, which were two men and a woman. The questions that they asked were very basic such as classes taken that related to this field, why she was competing, and what she planned to do with her knowledge. Answering with much hesitation, she was sure they did not believe what she was saying. Though it was truth, it did not sound like it because she was already overwhelmed with stress, which made her sound detached from the interview. She smiled and gave a good closing statement and was ready to move onto the last part of the competition.
This was going to be the hardest part of the competition. Before she was instructed on what she was to do, she asked to go to the ladies' room. She did not have to use the restroom she just needed to sit down and gather her thoughts. A few minutes later, she returned to the testing area. After instructed as to what she was to program into her router, she sat down in front of her laptop and began to perform the basic routine she had done hundreds of times before.
When she was back at home practicing, there was always a command that she forgot to enter. This was now replaying in her head. Many times her instructor had gone over it with her, but she could never seem to get it through her head. Now was the time she could not forget anything she had learned. If she was going to prove her ability to keep up with the rest, this is when she needed to do it. Making her way through the configuration, she was becoming very unsure of what she was doing. By the time she was done, she was sure that she was not going to place.
All of a sudden as she was leaving the testing area, she felt as though she was going to cry. "Suck it up" she thought to herself. "You are okay and you do not need to let these boys see you cry. You are stronger than that." Therefore, she continued to leave the building and head for her hotel. She had an hour and a half until the awards ceremony, so she decided to make herself relax by taking a hot bath. She got out and decided to put on a nice Sunday dress that was comfortable because the ceremonies were very lengthy.
She met up with the other people from her school and they all walked to back to the building where the awards ceremony was to be. Everyone was excited because everyone knew that he or she did well. She did not think she even made it in the top ten. Every competition she had been to in high school, she had gone excited to win, but never did. She was at this ceremony to support the friends with her and nothing more.
The networking field of competition had just been announced and the awards were about to be handed out. Third place went to a kid from her school. It was somewhat surprising because he was always so quiet and he had actually made it to third place. Second place was next. All of a sudden, her name was called! She did not know what to do! She got up out of her chair and walked toward the front to receive her award. She was overwhelmed with astonishment! Then they called first place, it was the senior from her school, which everyone knew would win first place. It was wonderful. She actually won something, which was a nice change for her. She would not be going to nationals, but she did not care. She had placed and that proved her skill to everyone else.
Through this whole experience, she learned never to underestimate herself. In order to prove her knowledge she, had to overcome the ideas that were set in her mind. She learned with this event that when the whole world seems to be against her, all she has to do is just press on with what she knows and she will be okay. She also learned that as long as she believes in herself, she can do anything that she sets her mind to. Your mind is always the hardest obstacle to overcome. Once you win your mind over it is easy to believe from there.