Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Not-Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

No, the GRE didn't kill me, I'm still here. However, it wasn't a good experience. It was like those days that start out by stubbing your toe on a door jamb on the way to the bathroom and end after a long line of other equally disastrous events have occurred.

The exam's test site was at my alma mater, the University of North Florida. (Locals usually call it UNF for You Never Finish, but I somehow made it to the finish line.) When I was a student there in the mid 90's the parking situation was hideous. Finding a parking space required at least an hour of stalking other students as they left the lush green of the campus for the stark grey pavement. It was like living mall Christmas shopping every day. Sit, remain vigilant for a potential parker to sacrifice their space, stalk, slowly cruise behind them while trying to keep a pleasant expression on your face all the while sensing your blood pressure reaching its peak as you continue glancing at the clock. My little trip to the uni a couple weeks ago was no different. In eleven years, the parking situation has remained a ridiculous state, although some would say it has worsened. All I know is I was having unpleasant flashbacks and GRE test day wasn't a day I cared to take that s l o w cruise down memory lane.

Fearing the worse, I arrived on campus an hour before the exam was to start. High noon was when the dark clouds would roll in and block the sun for four hours. I did the campus crawl, drove through three different lots and a parking garage multiple times and when the clock finally showed 11:50AM, I made my own parking space. Of course I knew it was illegal. Of course I saw all of the other cars who'd been parked illegally with their parking citations under their wipers. Of course I said several really foul words as I grabbed my bag and started walking towards campus. My bearings weren't what they should be so I wasn't sure where my building was. The test site receptionist was very wrong about the closest parking area so I had half a campus to walk through to get where I needed to be in less than 10 minutes. A very nice freshman girl with big sunglasses walked with me to show me the way. I felt like I was 90 and senile.

I made it to the test site to sign in RIGHT AT NOON! My heart was racing, my breath was quick and I wasn't ready to test but I wasn't sacrificing the $130.

The test was quick. When you don't actually solve mathematical questions and select an eenie-meenie-miny-moe answer, you can save a lot of time. Yes, it was that bad, I kid you not. On the two written portions, I found myself at a loss for words so that section moved quickly, too. The events of August (my sister's death) has left my mind cloudy so rushing to take the GRE probably wasn't such a good idea. Sadly, I left knowing how poorly I scored but I'm trying not to make excuses.

To add a little salt to the wound, I approached my Jeep to find, yes, you guessed it, a parking citation. $25. I just rolled my eyes and pointed the Jeep towards home. I wanted refuge from the world at that point. All the fear hit me when I got home...

Will I be able to get into grad school?
Am I out of my mind? I'm 40 and I'm trying to go to school?
Will I be able to read the laughter in the rejection letters??

I spent the next couple of hours watching Antonio Banderas dance around (Take the Lead) and then realized that I'm still in the game. I have the rest of the application process to move through. I know that my undergrad GPA will get me into the universities I apply to and hopefully my life experience and written portion of the applications will be enough to get me the nod into a college of library and information science.

I won't know 'til I try so screw you GRE! I'm still gettin' my grad schoolin' on!


Blogger Dave2 said...

And I, for one, will be wishing you the best of luck! :-)

October 03, 2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger dylien said...

you are not 90 and you are not senile, to that I can attest catagorically.

I can also attest to the fact that schooling at age 40 (ish) is not an "out of your mind" endeavour.

however, parking tics do SUCK.


October 04, 2006 6:22 PM  
Blogger Mim said...

Hey, you can do this. I went back at 42 & found out that I could do better than the "kids" half my age. Maturity counts! You keep on keepin' on.

October 05, 2006 5:12 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I have a recurring nightmare like that.....I find out the day of about a final in a class I apparently did not know I had and had never been to. No place to park, campus seems 10 times larger than normal, and the final is on the top floor of a very tall building, but there are only rickety ladders to get from one floor to another. I admire your drive to get a graduate degree. Good for you. And you can take the GRE again if you have to.

October 05, 2006 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 20, 2006 6:16 PM  

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