The GRE Isn't So Scary
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Student Life

Dear GRE, You Aren't So Scary

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

Dear GRE, You Aren't So Scary

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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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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