Friday, 8 November 2013

The GREs are not the be all and end all.

I don't think there's any amount of words to explain the relief I am feeling right now.  For one thing, my back no longer feels like it's breaking because I no longer have the Princeton Review GRE Guide lugging around with me everything I go.  I have also set my flashcards on my bookshelf and will no longer be trying to integrate words like "laud" and "gregarious" into my vocab anymore.  I have a huge sense of relief lifted off my shoulders.

The GREs were without a doubt one of my biggest things holding me back from wanting to go to graduate school.  The pressure that I put on myself to be perfect or to be the 80 + student is ridiculous even in my eyes.  The thing with the GREs is you cannot be perfect.  From the time I picked up a book to study to the time I hit "submit scores" I knew my score was not going to be perfect.  At the same time, I wanted to be above the norm.  I wanted to stand out and make my application shine like nobody's business.

But the thing is, as time went on and I did practice test after practice test not only from the ETS Powerprep software and from the Princeton review website I quickly realized I wasn't going to get these outstanding scores I wanted.  I was scoring a few points below the 50th percentile on all the tests I was taking and was growing more and more frustrated.  The thing with the GRE is you get yourself into a mind frame that if you don't do well on these it is the be all and end all of your grad school application.

This is not the case.  It is a portion.  All my applications require another four things to get me into grad school, and while GREs are a big part I still have:

My GPA: It's not the highest, and it's not the lowest.  In some cases, my GPA has made me cross a school off my potential list.  But I consider the overall mid B average and last year A average to be enough to hopefully get me in some where.

My Personal Statement: I have a passion to learn.  I am driven to give back to people and to help them and to change the place that we live in.  There's more than this to my personal statement, but this will be where I shine on my applications because it's a chance for me to show them this is where I come from, this is where I am, and this is where I want to go.

My CV: I have an outstanding CV.  With work and volunteer experience, I'm able to show my future schools what I've done to make myself stand out.  And

My References:  Every person I've emailed to be a reference has been the upmost supportive individuals.  I've given the warning that they could have to write up to ten, and this doesn't turn them away.  These are people who have watched me grow.  At least two of them have seen me at my worst, and all three of them have built me up to be an amazing person.  They know my potential.  They've seen me work my ass off and know that I have the ability to think things through logically.  They believe in me and that my friends, is what has managed to get me this far in the application process.  They tell me to go for my dreams, to get out and travel, to take the opportunity to go to the states and pack my bags.  None of them have held me back, they haven't told me where to apply to or where not to, they've listened to everything I've had to say about grad schools. And that, is A LOT.

The GREs took me a little under four hours to write.  I came out of the room with my eyes watering from staring at a computer screen so long and the biggest craving for pasta.  I looked at my phone to see encouraging messages from peers and mentors.  While I didn't have outstanding scores (152 Verbal and 146 Quantitative, waiting for analytical and these are tentative), I'm proud of them.  My friends and peers and mentors are proud of them.  And while I try not to value myself based off a score I'm holding my head high and screaming I'M AVERAGE.  Because with this under my belt, I feel like I am unstoppable in applying to grad school.

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