If you were expecting study tips you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
As most of you know, I was hecka nervous to take the GRE. I was anxious to the point where my eating habits were affected. I like food as much as…well, as much as a chunk butt likes food so being unable to eat because I may vomit from nerves bothers me. To make matters even worse, I found a gray hair. Praise Jesus that it was on my head because I couldn’t have handled it otherwise.
The morning of the GRE I woke up at 2am. My alarm was set to go off at 5:45, but 2am is only 3 hours and 45 minutes away from 5:45 so why not? The second my eyes snapped open I started worrying. What if the car didn’t start? What if I hit traffic? What if the GRE was ridiculously hard? What if I forgot to put on pants? What if I lost a shoe as I was walking to the building and a puppy stole it and took off running down the street? These West Palm Beach people never train their dogs properly and Muffy van Snobby Nose would probably think it was my fault that Chuffy stole my shoe and then I would have to kill Muffy van Snobby Nose and I would end up getting to the exam late, with one shoe, covered in blood. I probably wouldn’t even get to finish the exam because the police would arrest me.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yeah, so I woke up at 2am and couldn’t stop worrying. I played through every bad scenario in my head and finally, around 3am, I was exhausted from worrying and I fell back to sleep. Thankfully, I didn’t wake up again until my alarm went off. As I was getting ready I made a point to take a deep breath every five minutes or so and say, “You’re going to be fine.” Getting out of the house was fine. I had showered and laid out my clothes the night before so all I had to do was pin my hair and eat breakfast. I couldn’t decided what to eat for breakfast, not that I really wanted food, but eventually I settled on an apple, a glass of water, some crackers, and a handful of nuts. The crackers tasted like fakaka and the nuts ended up being too salty so I just ate my apple with my “You’re going to be fine” mix playing on my ipod. Don’t ask me why, but there was reggaeton on that mix.
I do strange things when I’m nervous.
After I parked my car and started walking to the building, keeping an eye out for dogs and old West Palm Beach women, I noticed that it was a lovely day. The sun was shining, there was no traffic, a few happy joggers passed and said, “Good morning” as I strolled down the street. “You’re going to be fine.” I said.
That was when the glass of water I’d drunk decided it need out.
Now, when most people have to relieve themselves they feel a slight urge that gives them about fifteen to twenty minutes before they ABSOLUTELY have to go. I, unfortunately, have an anxiety disorder. So after about a week of constantly feeling like Jack Nicholson was coming after me with an axe a la “The Shining”, any added stress wasn’t going to be handled by my body in a calm and rational manner.
I went from “You’re going to be fine” to “JESUUUUUUUUSSSS!!!!!” in about 2.5 seconds. It wasn’t a pretty sight as I waddled/hopped the last three blocks to the building. Thankfully, there was a bathroom right next to the front door which proves that when you cry out to God, he hears you and delivers. That bathroom was my own personal miracle.
With my bodily functions in check, I found the office and stepped inside. It was 7:30 at this point and the exam was supposed to start at 8. I figured I would sign in, wait about 5-10 minutes, take my seat, and then start the exam.
Even though I took this exam last year, I had forgotten the involved and thoroughly complicated process that is “signing in.” You get to the office. They ask for I.D. They check your I.D. against their list. They hand you a form. You must write out a paragraph promising not to divulge any of the information found on the test or they reserve the right to feed your eternal soul to the leviathan. You sign the form. They give you back your I.D. and a key. They tell you to put everything you own into a locker and lock it. You follow their orders.
You step into another room. They take your picture. You wonder ‘what the heck?’ They have you empty your pockets. They laugh at you because you’re wearing skinny jeans and the pockets can barely hold a bobby pin let alone answers to a computerized test. You sign another form. They show you to your seat and tell you that you may not talk to anyone until you exit the room.
Now, I’m a fairly normal person (fairly normal, I’ll be honest), so I took that last order seriously. I sat in my little cubicle and didn’t talk or make eye contact with any of the people who came in after me. One man apparently thought “Do Not Talk to Anyone” was a suggestion rather than a rule. He talked to the woman who showed him to his seat. He talked to the person in the cubicle next to him. Then he asked the entire room if anyone had a calculator he could borrow.
(A brief sidenote: when you sign up for the GRE, they tell you that you are not allowed to use calculators of any kind. You’re not even allowed to bring scratch paper with you. They supply paper and pencils. All the math has to be done in your head. When I heard this man ask for a calculator I had to wonder what kind, if any, preparation he did.)
He was promptly ejected from the testing area.
Strangely enough my nerves melted away the minute I started the exam. A calm as tough as the Man of Steel beat the crap out of my anxiety and I was able to focus. I used my scratch paper like a kid plays with a new toy on Christmas, I used every last second of the alotted time, and I didn’t second guess myself to the point of paralysis. Perhaps that was God’s second daily miracle in my life. We could all use a little divine intervention now and again. Mine came at an especially convenient time.
Unfortunately, life is not always as kind to me as God.
Just as I was finishing up my last question and preparing myself to see my score, I was randomly selected to answer a sample question that they’re trying out for future GREs. I could not pass go. I could not collect $200. I had to sit there for another 30 minutes and write an essay on a topic that I couldn’t have given a flying squirrel about. That’s just my life I guess.
When I finally did get my score (950!) I had to bite my tongue and rise slowly from my seat. I wanted to scream like a fangirl seeing Justin Bieber in concert, but that probably would have led to my being promptly ejected from the testing area. As it is when I was walking back to my car I had to suppress the urge to skip, prance, caper, frolic, leap, sashay, cupid shuffle, gambol, grapevine, bump n’ grind, and/or chicken dance down the sidewalk. I contented myself with walking in a springy fashion.
I would like to end this tale with some kind of moral, but frankly, my brain still hurts from all the studying I’ve done this past month.
The ten migraines I’ve had can attest to that.
All I can say is that if you’re worrying about something, don’t cower in the corner like a scared little mouse. Put on your big girl/boy shoes, face that sucker, and then make it cry using only your words.
You were probably expecting me to say “beat it to death with a heavy piece of tropical fruit”, but I feel as though I’ve been especially violent in this post considering the untimely death of Muffy van Snobby Nose and Chuffy.
Muffy was bludgeoned with a papaya.
Chuffy got the coconut.