Pre-Test Ritual

Nationality: Nigerian
Primary Language: English
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Performance Date: 04/26/2024


“Any day I have a test or exam, I will wake up thirty minutes early and take a walk outside playing a specific playlist I have had since I was fourteen, that my older brother made me. I don’t do it for luck or anything, but just because it puts me in the right mindset.”


The informant, a college student, created this ritual herself. It came as a blend of two separate things: her brother’s playlist, and her mom, who always told her to take a walk before an exam. She has not skipped the ritual ever, with one exception her senior year when it was raining heavily and her umbrella was at risk of blowing away. Rather than being a superstition or something for luck, this ritual is a specific event in a specific context to soothe and calm the informant. This is something she does alone, and thus has not consciously attempted to spread it to other people.


Taking a walk before a stressful event is a relatively common act, however in this case, it is meticulously done, with a specific playlist, consistently before exams. The particularity by which this is done is a reflection of the comfort repletion and order can bring to someone. I think the informant has not attempted to spread the ritual because it is person, and holds personal value. It is not that it is a secret, but rather that it is just something that brings comfort to her. Individual acts of comfort and ritual are often intimate and pseudo-secrets because they hold context specific to ones life, that is not necessarily translatable to others. Furthermore, while not for luck, the ritual serves as an associative mechanism to get the informant in the mindset of an exam, which can be helpful in placing someone in the right mindset for an event.