Luck. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Personally, I’m not really convinced that it’s a thing at all. Of course, there are times when something that seemed very unlikely happens, but I prefer to call it chance. Luck somehow implies that you had an onus on it, and that there was something about you that made it happen. There wasn’t. We all know that, it was pure coincidence.
I guess it’s even more bizarre then that we wish each other luck, as though it is a thing that a person can possess. You can’t get lucky in an exam, you either know the content or you don’t. There’s no luck about it, so surely wishing each other luck is silly?
Today, I was stressing. I looked in the mirror and whispered ‘You’re going to be fine, I promise’. I burst into tears. You see, those are the words that my best friend used to say to me before an exam. She’s not going to be here to do that tomorrow when I take my first university exam of first year summer, and I won’t be there to smile and whisper back ‘thanks, you too’. You see, while I may have only said those words in the mirror today, they were always said after the words ‘good luck’ when we were at school. They meant a lot to me, and they gave me one last chance to smile before I walked into the exam hall and desperately tried to get hold of my breathing.
Now, I’ve just told you that I don’t believe in luck as a concept, so why would those words mean so much? To me, they’re not that. They’re not ‘luck’ and they’re never going to be some special power that makes the exam go perfectly. But they’re still something, and they’re still words that rattle my heart a little and make a difference to me. To me, ‘good luck’ means ‘I’m here with you. You’ll be okay, even if the exam doesn’t go okay, it’s not the end of the world and I’ll be your friend no matter what.’ When said by my best friend, ‘good luck’ means ‘I’m your friend and I love you.’ Most of all, those words mean ‘I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself’. Belief is something that I’ve always struggled with, and the problems of stress have always haunted me, but just for a second, she could make the pain and worry go away with those simple words. ‘Good luck, you’ll be fine. I promise.’ – they echo in my head, they’ll echo in my head tomorrow, but it’s not right when she’s not here to say them.
Sure, other people might say them. I hate it when my parents say them. That makes me panic. That means ‘you’d better do well or we’ll be disappointed’ and it doesn’t feel loving in the slightest so I get nervous. When other people wish me luck, people who care about me for me, not my grades, it makes my heart flip. It makes me feel a little safer. It’s strange, it’s probably not normal, but it helps. Anything that helps me through exams is important.
Tonight I will text my best friend just before I sleep and wish her luck for her exam in the morning, even though she’s five hundred miles away. I’ll tell her that I love her. Tomorrow, I’ll text my final year friend and wish her the same. In the morning, I’ll put on my swallow necklace and subconsciously touch my ‘believe’ friendship bracelet. I’ll do my deep breathing and in the afternoon, I’ll take my exam, too. Perhaps someone will wish me luck; they probably won’t. Perhaps somebody out there will think to text me, or call me, to make sure that I’m okay. Perhaps somebody will remind me to breathe and tell me to take my time. They probably won’t. I don’t have my favourite teachers anymore. Maybe my best friend will be thinking about me tomorrow, just like I’ll be thinking about her. She probably won’t, she’ll probably be way too stressed.
But I just hope that it’s okay. I hope that someone out there believes in me, because as I climbed into bed tonight, the tears started to fall. I’m absolutely terrified, and I wish someone could be standing by my side, ideally physically, but on compromise, virtually will do. Just a few sentences, a few seconds, a text message changes everything.
Good luck. Two little words that completely change my outlook and therefore the outcome of an exam.
I hope someone out there believes in me, and I promise to use every last part of me to try and believe in myself.