Wow…Two months since my last post. Let’s look at where I am now…
We’ve moved and gotten settled into our new house. I studied for, and took, the GRE. I have a few finishing touches to put on my application for graduate school for the Summer term. I have met with professors to discuss my plans concerning graduate school and what I am going to do with more education. I started another trip around the sun.
Yes, I took the GRE. I took it last week. I didn’t want to, but I had to. I had to take it in order to apply to graduate school. Let me just tell you about that experience. It was painful. The months leading up to it were painful. The days leading up to it were painful. The whole experience was painful.
See, I get anxious before taking a test…any test, really. This test, however, was different. As I read the preparation materials and reviewed math skills that I have not used in nearly twenty years, I realized that there is really no way to fully prepare or study for the GRE. Sure, time management is key to successfully completing the test, but what it really comes down to is that you either know it, or you don’t, and that does not work too well for me. If I don’t know it and need to know it, then I NEED to know it. It’s kind of like an obsession, really.
I remember feeling pretty much the same way when I took the SAT in high school for my college application. I either knew the material, or I didn’t. I did a lot more preparation for the GRE. I bought a prep manual, reviewed math…yes math. I honed my skills of analyzing arguments and presenting opinions on issues. I attempted to learn every million dollar word in the English Language. I did reasonably well, and I don’t really have any complaints, save one…
Standardized testing sucks.
And here is why…
The education I’m wanting and the kind of work that I want to do requires doing research on a given topic, analyzing and interpreting the research, formulating a thesis based on the analysis, and supporting that thesis with an argument based on the research performed along with knowledge of the topic being argued. Sure, some mathematic skills may be required when doing research such as knowing percentages or analyzing data and statistics…hell, maybe even dealing with some fractions or long division. Though when it comes to calculating the circumference of a triangle given only the radius of the square root and knowing that pi equals cake plus milk, there is absolutely no point in the future when I am going to need to know how to do that.
I know, I know…never say never.
I’m saying it, though. NEVER. So why did I have to waste energy studying, reviewing, and obsessing over that when I could have used that energy reviewing and obsessing over skills and knowledge that will pertain directly to my chosen educational endeavor?
All in all, I did alright. I made it through without having an aneurysm. I finished the sections within the allotted amount of time. I don’t think my pulse rate went above 180 bpm. So, we’ll chalk up a mark in the success column.
My scores, once they are official, will be submitted to the graduate school’s admissions office and the program to which I am applying. Two more essays to write and one last recommendation to get, and my application will be done. That’s pretty exciting.
What’s even more exciting is that, once the new year begins, one of the professors under whom I will be studying is going to start meeting with me weekly to discuss what I am reading and helping me fine-tune a particular topic and/or period of study . I’m pretty jazzed about that. I’m not going to lie. I’ve already got my library card and everything.
It’s an exciting time, and I’m looking forward to it.