My Week At a Glance Leading Up To My Trip

Last Updated on June 27, 2024

I’m rounding the corner to the start of my first solo trip abroad and my life has been such a roller coaster.

Since Tuesday, I have been so sick. Horribly sick. I feel terrible actually. I have lost my voice, I am congested, I’m feverish, and my body aches. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or a result of putting too much stress on my body in such a short period of time. I know from college I tend to be hypersensitive to stress. I used to fall ill at Rutgers right before important dates if I didn’t go out of my way to engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, and journaling.

Scheduling My Exam

Last week, on June 22nd, I bit the bullet and scheduled my official testing date& location to take my Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Series 6 examination. The testing date happened to be today.

Getting Sick

Of course, I became sick, now, just in time for the most important days proceeding the exam date: cram time.

Funeral Arrangements

The following day, in the midst of studying, I received the tragic news that my great-uncle had passed away (as in my grandfather’s brother.) Our family is mourning the loss of a great man. Loss of our loved ones is far from an easy thing to cope with and it is during these times that we come together both in sorrow and to celebrate the lives of the people we love. His funeral arrangements happened to fall on the same day as my FINRA exam so I needed to quickly make some adjustments so I could be with my family. I urgently began to make calls to reschedule… until I realized, I could not. There were no more time slots available on such short notice until after I’d already left the U.S.A.

Rescheduling Work

With the whole licensing process changing on October 1st, all of the testing centers are swamped with people trying to take the Series 6 ASAP!

Pushing it back an hour was the best I could do. Also, I was scheduled to teach six VIPKID classes this morning. I canceled three of the six so I could attend the morning mass. When I contacted VIPKID to explain the reasoning for my cancellations, I was notified by their support team that because the relationship to the family member who passed was not my “immediate family” they could not fully excuse my cancellations and I would be fined for each class I canceled. I’m not sure I agree with the rationale there but it is what it is, I guess.

Teaching Without a Voice

Cancelling those classes was a blessing in disguise because now I have no voice. I could barely speak when I woke up and when I tried to, very little noise came out. You had to see me trying to teach English without a voice for the three classes I didn’t cancel. The lessons were pitiful. I actually felt bad for the students and their parents. It is during times like these that I think VIPKID should have a new protocol for teachers who cannot teach during last-minute emergencies. I’d rather cancel a class (penalty-free) and let my students have a different teacher who isn’t sick/upset/rushing rather than trying to still teach while not fully present so as not to be penalized and fearing termination from their job.

Driving To The Testing Center

Afterward, I drove to my testing center. I took some cold medicine (totally unsure of whether or not it would even help but desperate for relief) and prepared to take the exam I had spent weeks preparing for. Of course, I got lost on my way but I found another route to get there.

Why I Was Almost Asked to Leave

The testing center was extremely secure in how it handled testing subjects. We had to leave all of our belongings in a locker, show our sleeves and ankles, turn our pockets inside out, take off all jewelry, and get scanned with a metal detector wand. The woman instructed me to remove my glasses, to hold them precisely from the tip of the arm, and to rotate them 360 degrees flat against the surface of her desk.

After spinning them, she abruptly said, “Now, turn ’em back.” My ears were so congested and full of pressure I couldn’t hear her clearly and I thought she said, “Turn them to the back,” so I flipped them over so she could see them backward.

The test center lady exclaims, “Sir!!! What do you THINK you are doing!? Turn ’em back!”

So I quickly flipped them back over and nervously replied, “I’m so sorry! I don’t know what you mean by ‘turn them back!'” so she showed me by way of demonstration with her own glasses that she wanted me to spin them counter-clockwise instead.

Mind you, I was no longer wearing my glasses so I couldn’t clearly see what she was doing with hers. “Is this right?” I asked while turning my glasses “back.”

Stacking the Odds

During the test, I marked 50 out of 105 questions for review. Amazing. I love it when the odds are stacked in my favor.

Miraculously, despite feeling almost unconscious by the end of the 2 hours, I clicked submit and saw that I passed. Man, seeing that screen felt so good. I was so overjoyed with relief that I actually started to tear up (and quietly laugh) and nearly got escorted out again because surely now the lady just thought I was crazy.

I passed my exam!

From there, I went home, made dinner, and gave my body some time to catch up on sleep.

What a day. What a week. Hope life in July is happier and healthier.


    1. The Rocky Safari

      Thank you!!! Hmm I guess traveling sick would be an experience on its own! I still have some time to recover before I leave. I’m stepping up my Vitamin C and going to try to get as much rest as possible. Hoping for the best. Thanks for your reassurance, whatever the outcome!

  1. Michael Perry

    Hey Rocky. Just rest, drink plenty of liquids. Your body will switch to a new gear. I got this really bad head cold before going to Halong Bay. Amazingly I got on the boat and the excitement about going took over. Take care of yourself. As a friend used to tell me in times of stress “sending powerful thoughts of you kicking butt and taking names later”.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Thanks Michael! I will do my best. I think the adrenaline and excitement will definitely help. Positivity tends to work wonders during times like these. Appreciate that quote from your friend! Great attitude!

  2. Yay for you!!! Congrats on passing that test, Rocky! That is the best. Hopefully, that was the stress and your body is ready to rock n’ roll and get the Rocky Safari on the road. You know I am excited for you–yes, I am!

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The Rocky Safari