TOA is a four-letter word. No, really. I now know what the most dreaded word facing a 12-year old kid is. E-X-A-M.

I was reduced to a 12-year old a week ago. We had to sit for two TOAs, aka Timed Online Assignments, which make up for 50% of our GPA for each module respectively.  Essentially, we were given two hours to complete three to four questions.  There is another 30 minutes given for reading, planning and submitting the written answers.

My classmates and i did a rough calculation – we have at best, 30 to 40 minutes per question. And our lecturers exhorted us to ensure we get sufficient time to attempt every question.

The day arrives. I set up my laptop, checked my Internet connection, made myself a cup of tea, all ready to begin…and it happened.

I PANICKED. It came on the moment I clicked on the examination paper. For the next 30 precious minutes, I was literally paralysed with an unexplainable constriction of all senses except a rapidly accelerating heart rate. I could not even maneuver my mouse!

So yes, I did not manage to complete my paper. At that moment, when I submitted my half-done paper, the brutality of such an experience hit. Abolish the wretched system of examinations, I wanted to cry!

As I came to terms with the horror of what happened, I truly felt like a student. Plagued with all the insecurities and uncertainties a young padawan would experience. And that dreaded fear of failure.

Yet, learn I must. To embrace the anxieties of my yet untrained legal mind, and grow in the journey of becoming. Towards certainty of thoughts and reasoning, and confidence of flourished writing, even under extreme time constraints.