Thursday another engineer and I were waiting for our clients to arrive for a meeting when he turned to me. "You'll be hearing about your PE (professional engineering certification exam) results soon, won't you?"
"Oh, I don't think I'll hear about them until January."
"No," he mildly corrected me. "I know they always release the results right before the end of the year because I found out I passed on December 30th."
Talking about it took me back to when I found out that I passed my first certification exam. It was the day after Christmas about five years ago and I'd just gotten home from work. I hadn't been home in a few days since I'd been away for the holiday and I saw the envelope from the certification organization as I flipped through the mail. I pulled out and my stomach knotted. It was such a thin envelope--if this was anything like college admission letters, it would be a bad sign. I laid the envelope on the table for a moment, gathering my courage to rip through that envelope. Finally the suspense was too much and I pulled the letter out, skimming over the first few lines without comprehension. Pass--73!! Success!! I squealed and starting literally jumping up and down. I just couldn't contain my excitement. Without setting the letter down or even taking my eyes off it, I rushed over to the phone to start calling everyone I could think of.
Imagine my surprise when I came across the letter this time as I flipped through my Saturday mail after a late date with my boyfriend. Again the thin envelope frightened me, but this time I buoyed my confidence remembering that I would need a thicker envelope to contain a report about why I failed, but I simultaneously tried to keep my expectations reasonable. Still, as I pulled the letter out of the envelope I silently chanted, "Pass, pass, pass..." Again I skimmed incomprehensably over the first few lines until I saw it: Pass!!!