Sometime in July or early August this year I applied for the United Nations Young Professionals Programme, not really thinking much of it since I had been applying for practically every single job with the word Communications in the job description anyway. I had forgotten about my application until a few weeks ago when I received a vague email from the Examination and Tests Section instructing me to see the attached file. This is what the file said:
Dear Ms. Alyssa BIERZYNSKI,
We are pleased to invite you to take part in the 2011 Young Professionals Programme Examination in the job family of Public Information as a national of Grenada.
Aww yeeeah! I got in! Wait…Exam? I thought my days of studying and exams were far behind me? The letter continued:
The duration of the examination is 4 hours and 30 minutes… You will need a pencil for writing your information on the answer booklet, and a blue or black pen for writing your answers. You will not be allowed to use a COMPUTER… The examination will consist of a General Paper and a Specialized Paper. The Specialized Paper for Public Information will consist of 2 essays and 8 questions.
So for the duration of the exam – four and a half hours – I have to write pages upon pages of coherent, thought provoking content. Got it. Unfortunately, with the wonderful advancement of technology my typing skills far outweigh my penmanship and my attempt at writing study notes resulted in my hand cramping after less than ten minutes. (I wore copper bracelets throughout high school and undergrad to alleviate the cramping in my hands when writing for extended periods of time – I’ll probably need to break those out now).
But it’s not just me… How many of us actually remember the last time we had to write something longer than five sentences? When was the last time you mailed a letter, and I mean a handwritten one on file paper with the words getting really tiny towards the end because you’re trying to make it fit on one page? Even my mother admitted that she doesn’t know when last she used the post office to send anything (Sorry Mom, had to put that out there). I don’t even write my grocery list anymore, thanks to my handy iPhone.
You’d think I’d be more concerned with studying for the exam than worrying how I’m going to write it. But if the scorers can’t understand my handwriting, then what’s the point? I need to start practicing then. This handwriting follow the lines book looks like a good place to start. Let me start looking for some gold stars.