The GRE Isn't So Scary

Dear GRE, You Aren't So Scary

You may determine my plans as a graduate, but you don't define me.


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.

So what?

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.

Guess what?

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.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Don't Be Afraid of Changing Your College Plan

It really isn't THAT bad...


I can't claim to have any deep wisdom on life, but I at least have some good experience with a highly turbulent college career. I started as a game design major in a tech college in Rochester, NY, transferred to a college in Texas, and now I'm an English major at CofC.

My college life has been something of a roller coaster.

But I regret none of it. Maybe it would have been easier to stick to the track I was on initially, but I would never have been fully satisfied with it. Now I've finally found my place and, even though it may have taken a lot of shifting around, it was undoubtedly worthwhile.

I don't mean to say that everyone who is slightly dissatisfied with their major should transfer all over the country and change their major(I had to sacrifice the ability to get a minor because of the path I took, so I wouldn't recommend it to most people). I just believe that if you find yourself not liking the classes that are vital to your major or if you can't find a place at your current college, then changing your major or transferring isn't as horrible as you might imagine.

When I started college I was completely confident in what I wanted to do and what my future would look like. I thought it would be ridiculous for someone to stray from their initial path. That idea led to me deciding to transfer later than was smart.

I think everyone should know that having to change your plans for the future, sometimes in dramatic ways, isn't a bad thing. No matter how scary transferring and changing majors can seem, many people have done it before you and many will after, you aren't alone.

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