It doesn't take having test anxiety to know that tests are absolutely terrifying, and you, GRE, are no different. The thought of your predecessors—TAKS, STAAR, SAT, ACT, whatever other BS acronyms I was told would determine my future—haunted me growing up.
Naturally, when I figured out I would have to take you, I was just as terrified.
I felt like I was back in elementary school, having to take the state standardized test to make sure I was prepared for the next grade. I felt like I was back in middle school, taking the practice SAT and ACT to make sure I was on the right track to take the real things in high school. I felt like I was back in high school, taking the full SAT and ACT to determine if I made it into college.
My entire life has been spent fearing about my future because of tests like you.
Recently, I did something nobody in my family has ever done: I took you. I paid a pretty penny for you, and while the first half hour was terrifying, I learned a good lesson: you don't define me.
Somehow, writing one of my essays, I had a realization: you don't actually matter all that much.
Yes, you define my future. Yes, you could completely change my plans after graduation.
Instead of getting into that MFA program I want, I could have a spring filled with uncertainty while I try to find a job in order to make ends meet. I could have to pay for you again and study harder next time.
That doesn't change who I am at my core. That doesn't change that I am a writer, an editor, a cat mom, a good friend. A good person.
Maybe my anxiety medication is working extra well today or maybe I am finally accepting the fact that I am good at things, but one failure doesn't define me. I won't let a potential failure cloud my thoughts, and I won't let an actual failure ruin my dreams.
I won't let failing you define my future or change what I plan on doing.
You are nothing but another test set in my way to knock me down, just like all the other tests I needlessly worried about.
Well, you know what?
I won't let you.
I have spent too long being anxious about taking tests like you and fearing for my future in case I fail.
I think I did fantastically. If the scores given at the end are any indication, I know I did fantastically. Big scary tests like you don't scare me anymore.
You do not define me, and you never will.