An Open Letter To High School Students Stressing Over The A.C.T.

This past weekend, I had the honor of proctoring what seemed to be my thousandth A.C.T examination. While this is a huge exaggeration (in reality, I have probably only proctored only like, 15), I was ready to set sight on yet another room full of eager high school students who clearly did not want to be up on a cold, Saturday morning before any normal and sane person would.

But, there they all were, minus five who never showed up. My room full of eager students ready to dive into the most recognized standardized test.To my dismay, everyone in my room had taken the A.C.T at least twice. That was something that had never happened to me before. I had always been in a room where at least someone had never taken the exam before, until that day.

As I sat and waited for the official test time to arrive (in case the five showed up), I overheard a female tester state that this was her eighth time taking the A.C.T and she needed to go up two points. Now, I am not going to say what the student's score was and what she needed, however, I thought she was beyond crazy for waking up and taking the A.C.T again, when she did not have to.

I was flabbergasted. I took the A.C.T once, and I will admit, I received a 20 which was the score I needed to enter the college I wanted to attend. I did not see the need to stress myself out and take the exam more than necessary. I began to think to myself "why are students stressing themselves out over a test! How crazy is this! They have no idea that this test does not even matter after you get that nice fat check that says scholarship on it and you enter college", and that is why I write to you.

My fellow high school students, I have been where you are. I know, the A.C.T is scary, and you want to have the best score than your friends, and you want to have the highest amount of scholarships possible because college is a lot of money, trust me, I get it! But, this test does not define the next four years of your life. The A.C.T. defines what the government feels like you can have in scholarships based on how "smart" you are, and that is by far, not the case. The A.C.T. does not take into consideration GPA. It does not look at academic achievements. The A.C.T does not look at how well you have done in your sports or in extracurricular activities. It judges on a test, and if you are like me and cannot test, you are doomed from the start.

When I came to college, my simple 20 no longer mattered. I was here, and no one cared. Now, I am not saying, go out and bomb your A.C.T "yolo", that is far from what I am saying. What I am trying to say is that this test should not make you feel like it is your worth. Try your best and give it all you can give, and when you have hit that point, be done. Your mental health is more important than any number on a piece of paper. The A.C.T is a one time experience, and when you start college, I promise you, you will not care about that 20, 15, 23, 28, 32, or whatever you got! You will think "I made it. I am here", and that is what you should be embracing, not the score. Heidi Klum stated " I think you always need to try your best, but at the same time you can only do what you can do. Don't beat yourself up about it". Go out and take that sill standardize test and own it, do not let that test own you.

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