The To-Do List

This is what I have to do this week, so you can understand my level of insanity:

For my health law and ethics elective:

  • A 12-page paper–I chose to do mine on the lack of OSHA regs in healthcare.
  • A matching presentation on the above to be presented to my classmates

For my social media marketing elective:

  • Plan a social media marketing for a local business with whom I have partnered, including an execution plan and integration with existing promotions and events
  • Read two books
  • Write a blog post and watch 2 2-hour videos
  • Present above plan to my class

For my finance class:

  • Get through another 100 pages of text
  • Get through a study guide and over 100 practice problems
  • A case study to be completed in a group
  • Get ready for what is sure to be the most difficult final exam ever.

For my capstone:

  • One more round of decisions for my fake company I have been running all semester (which has a 120% growth  in profits, thankyouverymuch!)
  • An online exam
  • 2 10-page papers
  • A review of the above operations of the fake company
  • Another simulation of a shorter duration
  • The ETS exam required of all MBAs from AACSB-accredited programs in the country

That’s this week. And I work two nights in the middle somewhere.

Now you get it, right? Because nobody in my life right now seems to understand what I am talking about when I try to explain my current stress level.

These are the Days

16 Days. Of course I type that while I am supposed to be awake putting together a 45-minute multimedia presentation on integrated marketing practices for class tomorrow. My final project for a marketing elective to round out my requirements for the almighty advanced degree. John, in his awesomeness, brewed the strong coffee for me before turning in for the night. And I can’t quit thinking. I can’t quit thinking, not of integrated marketing as I should be, but of the uncertainty of my life right now. Have you ever been in a place where the things you spend your days doing no longer feel like they are what you should be doing? Where you feel like maybe your real life awaits you, if only you can survive this short little interim? That is this place. These are those days.

My views may possibly be skewed. I realize this. There are people who have devoted their entire lives to do what I have done for the past eight years. They keep doing it, content with their contribution to the world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is honorable. I’m not selfless enough. I feel like I have spent the past eight years paying dues to the world, to my being in general. To the spirit of my mother, who died from lung disease. I’ve been a good girl, and I have been good at my job. There are, in all honesty, people who are breathing today because of the work I have done. I have been there to help babies who could not help themselves. I have been there when families have said goodbye to parts of themselves. I have wiped brows of the dying, delivered tough love when necessary, compassion when it was needed. I have put myself and my family last. And now, after all of these years of doing that, I want to do something different, and in my warped mind, I have earned that. Not because I will, in just 16 days, have a piece of paper with my name in beautiful calligraphy saying I have completed some requirement set forth from society, but because I have paid my dues in other ways.

People ask me what it is I want, and I always answer with a “we’ll see” kind of shrug. I love healthcare, am passionate about healthcare. And I want to leave some sort of mark on this industry that is on a higher level than the one I am currently leaving. And I want to do so in a way that allows time for me, time for my family.

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about my path through higher education as a non-traditional student. Evan was about 2 when I put on a  backpack for the first time since my mom died, which was eight years before that. Evan is 12. I will finish this long road about 2 weeks before the ten-year anniversary of that first time back. And I have thought about it. I have allowed myself the luxury of pondering just sucking it up, reaching deep, and going straight into a Ph.D. program or a JD, even. And then I think of them. Of Evan and Zach, of John. And what I want is no longer about a higher degree or prestige. Now, when I think of what I want, it isn’t grandiose at all. It’s simple stuff. Little things that aren’t luxuries to most, but have been to me in these years where I have tried to do it all.

I want to come home and not have to rush off to class, be able to eat dinner with my family at a normal hour around a table with food we prepared at home. I want to watch a movie with John without worrying about homework I should be doing or, better yet, am actually trying to do with said movie playing in the background. I would love to take the boys to a movie or park on a weeknight for no reason at all. Maybe even go on a weekend hiking trip. Maybe John and I could have a real date once in a while. Or I could read a book that has not a damned thing to do with academics at all. I want to blog more. Maybe I could revamp this one a little bit with all I know about social media marketing and content creation these days. I want to join a gym and be able to go–and not some lame attempt a a resolution where I don’t have the follow-through because, hey, thinking I would even have the time for a workout each day was optimistic at best, even closer to being the world’s dumbest idea. No, I want to actually go. And work on myself a little bit, and not just on cramming my brain with as much knowledge as possible.

It’s so strange to me. When I started this, I thought, “MBA: the CEO’s degree. I’m want to be loaded.” It isn’t about that anymore. It’s about enjoying life and having the means to do so comfortably. There is only one material possession I even want, and it is going to sound worse than it is: that new Mercedes CLA 250. Sounds greedy and ridiculous, right? No, because in reality, it is only about 3K more than I paid for our current car and I bought it used. And the current car is too big for me to feel comfortable driving with my vision issues. So sounds crazy, but really isn’t. But anyway, here I am at the end, and the salary isn’t the thing anymore. The job is, the career is, the comfort is, but the money isn’t. And I am saying this about 2 days before I have an interview for a position that would pay more money than I have seen in my life–about 5 times my current salary. And now I suddenly don’t care. Well, I mean, I care in that there is a minimum I can take. I worked hard and paid a lot of money for my MBA. I can’t just give it away. But money isn’t the key determinant.

So here I am. Sixteen days from the big finish. And it feels like everything in my current life is winding down so I can start the new one. So these are the days. The days of excitement, of anticipation. Of anxiety and uncertainty. Of endings and new beginnings. Of wrapping up and starting anew. Of sheer panic mixed with resolution and calm.

These are the days I have to let go and hope it all works out, that it proves to have been worth it.

And if it does work out, these are the days I get to lean back, prop up my feet, and tell myself that after ten years, I earned every damned bit of it.

Still Alive

One day, I’ll return to writing for my own sake.

In the meantime, this is what is going on right now:

Evan is thriving in middle school. The girls are swarming. It’s bad. Last Thursday, after some really strange symptoms that had been going on sporadically, we were told that they thought he had a brain tumor. More about that experience on another day. I just can’t right now. He is seeing a pediatric neurologist in a few days and we’ll hopefully get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, I am trying not to unravel in my worry by focusing my attention on the fact that the head CT was negative. I am instead focusing on other things: that–for the first time ever–this kid has friends; that girls love him and I actually have to worry about what goes on when he is not supervised with a girl, that he is now wearing small men’s clothes, that he has that goofy ‘stache coming in and his dad is going to have to teach him to shave.

Zach is…Zach. He refuses to have anything to do with a toilet. I am tired of having to buy Pull-Ups. Or worse yet, diapers. He still sleeps in a diaper because Pull-Ups leak too much at bedtime. I would let him feel that discomfort with the idea that it would motivate him, but he just sleeps through it, thus we sleep through it, and we wake in the morning to a child with a rash and blue lips from sleeping in soaked pajamas. I cannot deal with neither the grossness factor or the health risk of that. We encourage. His preschool teachers encourage. We have purchased every toilet-learning device known to man, looking for the magic one. Currently, that is this cushie Prince Lionheart insert that seems so comfy that I wish it would accommodate adults.He has no desire whatsoever. But what is he doing? He is speaking plainly, counting, saying his alphabet, (crudely) writing his name, singing songs. (Please do not mix up the order of he verses of “The Wheels on the Bus”!) In May, this was the child who could literally say nothing that a stranger could understand. So I am not sweating the potty stuff. We’ll get there. He always does, doesn’t he? He’s still my little wonder–smart, cute,  funny, sweet.  He’s just Zachy.

John is making me proud everyday, He has lost over 50 pounds since the fateful day over the summer when a doctor I respect came to me to tell me that he could have died at any second from the blockages in his heart. His BP is down. He is down to only one medication for diabetes, and that dosage even had to be cut in half. His cardiologist cleared him to run at home after he outgrew the mild exercises at cardiac rehab. His cholesterol was actually low at his last check, so his medication for that was cut in half. The beta-blacker was stopped after he exhibited no need for it. He was wearing a size 40 waist in the summer. He is down to a 34, and those are falling off, but we’re holding off on shopping for more, since he’s built up to 2-mile runs daily–any little bit of weight he has left will melt off as his endurance gets back up there. His doctor says he only needs to lose 9 more pounds to be ideal body weight. If he loses 18 more, he will be back down to his post-boot camp weight from his Marine Corps days.

And me? I’m hanging in there. I have–wait, let me count–8 more weeks left of school. I start my capstone next Saturday. My paperwork for graduation is submitted. I am off of work. Blame some little boys who cannot seem to get their dirty laundry in a hamper. I tripped on some dirty clothes and fell down the entire flight of basement stairs on my left leg, with it ricocheting off of each step on the way down. They thought stuff was torn. Instead, I found out that every piece of cartilage in there is inflamed from the trauma. So it has been injections, PT, crutches (for about 5 weeks). I am finally to the walking stage, but only for very short trips and in transit. I cannot stand or walk for long periods at all. (Read: I can limp to my class and sit in a chair, I can walk to the car and get in it, but I can’t do shopping trips, etc.) I’m just hanging in. Also, I remember lamenting on here how I hated undergrad corporate finance. It has nothing on the 600 level.

That’s all.

I’ll be a blogger again one day, I swear,

Doing It

f8d17c34937d9c3215bfbbe00f6c78efI would love to give credit where credit is due for the above, but I have no idea where I got it. But this is the post where I finally talk about the other side. Of course, from the title of the post, you probably envisioned a juvenile describing the loss of their virginity, a la American Pie. Well, though I have my childish moments, I am not a juvenile and, though I hate to break this news, the whole virginity thing  went out the window a long time ago, folks.

No, this one is about setting a goal. One that seemed massive at the time. One that seemed highly unlikely. And then it is about reaching that goal. Or at least having the reaching of that goal so close that its taste is on one’s tongue.

I’m going to start the discussion off by telling you (or perhaps reminding you, in case I have mentioned it before and have just forgotten) that my first attempt at higher education was less than successful. My mom was sick. No, I mean, she was really sick, but she didn’t really reveal this to any of us.  So I spent my senior year of high school noticing how Mom was in and out of the hospital more and more. Somehow she convinced me to go to college anyway, but she kept getting put in the hospital.I was the first one in my family to go to college straight out of high school, to be labeled “the smart one”. She was proud, I think, and so I went. On several occasions, I would call home to discover that she was in intensive care. So there I was, a coddled kid away from home for the first time; a music major trying to study something I loved so much when really, I just loved to play and my mom was my biggest fan. And my mom was a home, dying. I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t do well at all. My grades were barely passing. I had gone from the smart kid in honors classes, to the one who couldn’t hack it. When mom finally dies about 2 weeks before final exams, I just dropped out. I couldn’t do it.

It scarred me. Mom’s death did, but the whole experience did also. When my life was calm enough, when I could look back on that time, I wondered about many things. Was I really just stupid? Was it the circumstances of the time in my life? Maybe I wasn’t college material after all. But I saw my life as it was unfolding, and I knew I could do so much more. And I met John, and he saw it, too. And he talked me into enrolling in some classes.

Just a couple of classes. I read that line to him just now. He smiled. He knows what he did just as much as he knew what he was doing then. Just a tiny spark. At a tiny community college where they do more training for careers than anything else. But I had been to a large university before, so I could tell that the classes seemed to be of the same caliber. Still, self-talk does weird things to us. But I enrolled in their respiratory program. I took the weed-out classes that all nursing and allied health students have to take. These careers, these jobs are stable, so these programs are usually turning applicants away. They make some of the prerequisites really difficult to separate the candidates by who will most likely be successful. And I had to take those classes. I aced them all. My classmates would hate me because I would wreck the curve. I literally scored greater than 100% for a couple of them because my professor curved others’ grades and didn’t feel it was fair to not give me the same point advantage. Still, the self-talk continued.

“It’s just a community college, Andrea. When you were at the real university, you sucked. You’re not really smart.”

And so I finished that program. With honors. I was recognized at graduation. I took my boards. I got my license. I started working in my field. And some part of me wanted more.

I wondered if the old dream of medicine could really take flight. I wondered if it was just because it was a community college. And so I enrolled in pre-med classes, to finish my bachelor’s.

And I got pregnant with Zach. And put on bedrest. I had been doing well, too.

More self-talk. Telling me I was silly. Telling me I was foolish. And then I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to ensure my children would grow up in complete financial security with their mother present. I realized I had been given a gift with each of them, and I was taking that for granted. So I did some soul-searching, determining what it was I wanted to do. What I really wanted.

And I enrolled in an undergraduate program. Straight A’s. It was community college all over again. I nailed everything I touched, and I finished summa cum laude. But I did it online. And so I thought to myself, “Yes, but was it really hard? Was it really a challenge? It was just an online program!”

And so I told John that I wanted to go on to my master’s. To my MBA. And I remember when I was telling him this, that my heart skipped a beat. I really wanted it. I meant what I said. But thus far, every attempt at what I have really wanted has either fallen through or been derailed by my own shortcomings. To speak of this out loud was unimaginable, because it gave life to what I wanted. It gave me some accountability to myself. So I looked, and I discovered that the university practically in my backyard had a nationally-ranked MBA program. I applied.

They weren’t supposed to actually accept me.

And on the eve of my first class, I was so nervous. Walking into my first class, I got butterflies. They were going to laugh me out of there. I wasn’t smart enough. More self-talk. That girl needs to learn when to shut her mouth.

Because I have nailed it. In a few weeks, I start my last semester, which includes my corporate governance capstone. On December 19, I will be able to put MBA behind my name. And for the first time, I can try and try to self-talk myself out of this all I want. The logic counteracts it. I am doing this. I am doing it. And as I prepare to enter my last semester, it is becoming more real. I hope my mom is watching. I hope she can see. Maybe what she saw in me all that time ago was more accurate than what I saw in myself. And I can kind of see what she was seeing.

The Admissions Mistake

This is such a strange time for me. Well, “surreal” would be a good word.

I am wrapping up my undergraduate education. I received my last shipment of textbooks from school this week, considering I tripled my classes again. You may recall that I tripled last session with the plan of doing it again this session, all to finish in time to start grad school. The idea of making me wait was to ensure the course load wasn’t too much for me. It wasn’t and I got straight A’s again. If I pull it off this session as well, I will honestly be able to say that I have not gotten a B at all. And I will have completed my BBA that way.

Hmm. Completing my BBA. Let me talk to you about my higher education. I was the first one to go to college straight from high school in my family. I was supposed to do great things. I had been in the gifted classes all through my education, and was contemplating pre-medicine as my major. The problem was that I played classical flute for years and years, and I was good. My second choice was a music major. My mother helped me make the decision, stating that medical school was for the wealthy. Full financial aid was not a likelihood back then as much as it is now. So I went with music. And where I was good, that was the biggest blow to my ego. Because they were all good. I was one of the worst of the really good ones, and even I knew that to create a career in music, you really have to be the best. That was immaterial, because I didn’t finish. Mom was at home, dying. I was treated for a horrible deep depression. The classes that were to be so easy ended up being the greatest challenge just to show up. When mom finally died, it was just too much and I dropped out.This gave my brothers and sisters in my dysfunctional family even more reason to gloat: Andi, the smart one, couldn’t cut it.

Years later, John talked me into respiratory school. I needed a job that would pay what we needed. Suddenly, I was in the medical environment that I was fascinated with as a teen. And when it came to the advanced chemistries and physics, I still had it. I took to it like peanut butter to jelly. Maybe I had made a mistake listening to my mom from the beginning. Maybe medicine is where I belonged all along. So I took as many courses as I could, finished the respiratory degree–it’s just an associate degree–with twice the number of credits I needed to graduate, all because I knew that I wanted to go further. But life and bills got in the way, and my plans to immediately finish a premed degree fell through with the obstacles I encountered. It took several years before I got to the point where I could enroll. And I did. I was chugging along as a premed/ molecular biology major, prepping for my MCAT and working on med school applications when I got pregnant with Zach and bedrest happened.

So after all of this education I have had, I still do not have a bachelor’s degree. I am one educated bitch, in everything from music to the sciences to business, but no baccalaureate degree. That is all changing in about 6 weeks. It seems so strange to be getting a business degree, though. I never dreamed that this is where my life would take me. I would have never thought I would have an aptitude for this field. Honestly, I never thought I would love it. And I honestly thought I would never finish anything higher than my respiratory degree. For some reason, everything I tried has fallen through, and I thought someone was trying to tell me something. Of course this disbelief is compounded by the fact that I will not be donning a cap and gown. Since I completed it in an online program, graduation is across the country at the actual school, and I will not be traveling just for that.

Where I should be excited about finishing the degree, I am anxious. Five days after the end of these next classes, I start B-School. And I am seriously questioning my ability. I do really well at the role of big fish in a small pond. The times I have played the role of small fish in a big pond, something has happened to make me choke on the damned pond water. And I suspect that, even though I am going to a smaller, more elite private university, I am going to be the small fish. I’m afraid that I am the admissions mistake. You know what I’m talking about. The one, every year, that they let in by some fluke or flaw in their system of evaluating applicants. The one that really shouldn’t be there. I have so many questions, so many doubts.

Yeah, I produced the resume they loved. I’m the diversity factor. A woman. Coming from healthcare, not a business field. My application was amongst those of investment bankers and area business leaders, or simply new twenty-something college students fresh from the dorms and delaying the inevitable of going to find work by starting grad school immediately. So I can picture them going through the stack and thinking, “Hmmm. Respiratory Therapist? With an undergrad business degree?” Bizarre, yes. Then my transcripts. My 4.0, immaculate transcripts, with perfect grades in anything from music performance to human genetics. Psychology and Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology. Organic Chemistry and Corporate Fucking Finance. A’s. All of that shit. Well, you can think that this is one area in which you cannot argue. That was my point in sweating my grades so much through all of this. My grades will never limit me. I ensured that. But I have developed my own doubts. What if those grades are from schools that are too shitty to count? I have mastered the art of being a student, but other than Corporate Fucking Finance, none of it has really been a challenge. Well, maybe O.chem was, just because I hated the class, and now it doesn’t even matter that I did it. My point is, what if my GPA isn’t an indicator of my abilities at all, but an indicator of how easy the classes were?

What if I don’t belong there? What if I choke? What if I manage to navigate successfully and then there is no place in this world for a respiratory therapist with an MBA from a nationally ranked program? Then I am left with the most expensive piece of paper in the history of paper-making.

I guess I could have saved you the time you have spent in reading this by saying two simple words: I’m scared.

I don’t want to be the admissions mistake.

Conditionally

So, if you read my last post, you now that my experience with the GMAT was painful. And that the powers that be decided I had to take the damned thing. Yeah, whatevs. What you do not know, unless you delved into the comments, is that I found a big pair of lady balls and called the MBA Advisor at my first-choice school. And told her the story. About how I meet every single requirement but the damned score breakdown. So her words? Basically she told me it had to be a fluke, that either I got some really difficult questions in the beginning and that psyched me out, or my math section was abnormally hard—Basically, that there had to be a reason that the math score didn’t match up with my academic record or the remainder of my GMAT score. She’s right. We started talking about the courses I have taken and my performance in them. Corporate Finance. Financial Accounting. Stats. Calc I and II. A. A, A, A, A. I even got an A in that damned corporate finance class and am thanking my lucky stars that I do not have to take it again at a 600 level lest I kill myself. Seriously. So wtf gives with the GMAT math? Because the GMAT is an asshole of epic proportions. But…She told me to NOT SCHEDULE THAT TEST UNTIL I HEAR BACK FROM  HER. She said she was taking it to the dean.

So anyway, she had me fax my unofficial score report to her. I got no response, so I gave her a day or so and called to see if she got it, which is when she asked for my resume. By now they have received my app, my resume, my unofficial GMAT score, and my official transcripts. All that was left were my letters of recommendation, cover letter, and hard copy of my resume. I mentioned as much in my email and that I was sending those in this week. I was waiing for a phone call from her when a funny thing happened.

I decided to empty my email inbox of spam. There were so many emails where I had been out of the loop recently that I was about to just declare email bankruptcy when I spotted it. She had replied.

“Andrea, with your existing GMAT score, your excellent GPA, and the resume you sent, you are fine for conditional admission. Do NOT retake the GMAT.”

Oh. Ok. Yeah, no more of that GMAT shit. And then I stopped to think about what she said. By then I had closed the email. So I reopened it. And got hung up on the word “conditional”. Until I remembered that my BSBA will not be completed until September and they cannot grant me full admission into the MBA program until that is finished. So what did she really tell me?

She told me I’m getting in. To one of the top B-schools in the whole friggin’ country. Not only that, but to the most competitive program at one of the top B-schools in the country, since it means they will basically be waiving all of the first year MBA courses for me and I will finish the degree in a year. Basically, because of this, you have to have your shit together to even avoid them not throwing your app in the garbage immediately upon receipt.

She told me that I fucking did it.

And then I started crying. And I picked Evan up and swung him around. And Zachy and I danced around the room. And I anxiously waited for John to come home from class so I could tell him. But I didn’t get to tell him because, as soon as he pulled into the driveway, Evan was running toward the car, shouting, “Daddy, Mommy did it!!! She did it!”

I did it.

I really did.

Conditionally.

The GMAT or OH MY GOD Can People Really Do This?

I am so pissed at myself right now. I can honestly say that in all of my higher education, standardized tests, credentialing exams—and there have been plenty of them—I have never done poorly on a test of any kind.

So it starts with me trying to prep for my GMAT for a couple of months. Honestly, there was just never time. There was always work. Or an appointment for one of the kids. Or John had class. Always something. But I tried half-heartedly to prepare. And by the time I was finished with all of the tasks I had to do, I was too exhausted for anything that could be considered optional. I mean, the GMAT doesn’t sign my paycheck. My grades do not depend on studying it, so it had to be moved to the back burner. And then I found out that the required score for my top-choice program is not that difficult, and I blew off studying altogether.

Holy shit.

On test day, I was nervous as hell. Butterflies and nausea. Heart-racing, palm-sweating nervousness. I tried to pump myself up with an iPod full of pump-up music. Lots of Eminem and other I’m-Kickass tunage. I chugged a venti mocha from Starbucks. Then I squared my shoulders and marched my happy ass right into that testing center as if I owned the place.First of all, let me tell you that Fort Knox could learn a thing or two from the security of a GMAT testing center. Palm-vein scans. Digital photos. Audio and visual recordings of the entire test. Pockets turned inside out and sleeves rolled up before entering. You have to put everything into a locker. EVERYTHING. All you are allowed to have on your person is your photo ID and the key to the locker they give you. No pencils or paper. They give you a dry-erase notebook for scratchpaper, and you aren’t supposed to erase it. When you run out of room, they bring you a fresh one. They provided me with earplugs, but I wasn’t even allowed to have the wrapper they came in. Please explain that one to me. How does one cheat with an earplug wrapper they get from the testing center? Because if they can figure that out, they deserve to ace the damned GMAT.  I had to unwrap them before I even entered the testing room and give he wrapper to the proctor. And when you leave the room for any reason, the entire process happens all over again.

And then I sat down to take the test.

I whizzed through 2 writing assessments. I gave responses that were well-developed and organized in thought. Grammar was perfect. No spelling errors. If anything, I can churn out a paper for anyone and anything, so I am sure I nailed those, though it will take a few weeks for the powers that be to determine my score on them. It gave me a chance for a scheduled break, which I declined. I mean, I finished the writing assessments with time to spare, so I was in the zone. Ready to go for the net round. Bring it on, Bitch!

Next came quantitative. I’m not allowed to tell you about any of the questions. I swore on my children and my future as a human being in this world that I would not. But I will tell you that this math can suck a big one. Algebra, geometry, and arithmetic organized into either problem-solving or data sufficiency questions. The math concepts were not hard at all. What was hard? The way it was organized into the problem. Each problem solved by a long chain of steps, and then the solution is not at the end of those step, but rather some portion that relates to it. And then the answer choices! Normally, when one takes a multiple-choice math exam, they solve the problem and if their answer doesn’t match the choices, the know they have done something wrong, they go back and work the problem again and find an answer that matches. Well, the GMAT bases incorrect choices on common mistakes. Say you forgot to divide the number in step two of fifteen by 2. One of the answer choices will fit that error, so you see your answer among the choices and have no idea you were wrong and are completely oblivious. But then you don’t just get the problem wrong! Your score goes down and the subsequent questions are easier because the test then figures you are a fucktard and need easier questions. Incidentally, the easier questions are worth less, so then it takes forevver to get back up to the score you need. But if you get the first few problems correct, the exam propels you into the difficult questions. And for me, these were insanely difficult. And then there is data sufficiency. I can’t even….Just Google that shit. The GMAT prides themselves on the fact that they invented this question type. If I were them, I would not be proud of the fact that I tortured poor college students seeking advanced degrees. And they are a big fricken part of the quantitative secion. Whatever. Shake it off, because after another body cavity search after a potty break, it’s time for the verbal reasoning.

Critical reasoning, sentence correction, and reading comp compose the verbal reasoning. Simple, right? Ummmm, no. Because the GMAT gives you complex sentences full of modifiers in odd places and odd verbage that one would never use in a normal conversational tone. The grammar is perfect, but the flow of the sentence is completely awkward and clumsy. So you really have to know your grammar. Conjugation is a biggie. The critical reasoning gives you a statement and you are expected to draw inferences or determine ways to weaken or strengthen the argument–whichever is asked. The reading comp is pretty standard, except the passages are verbose and dry, written on topics nobody could give two shits about.

And just like that, you’re finished. And the beauty of the GMAT is that you get your unofficial score right then. It isn’t official because the writing assessments have to be scored by some geek in an office somewhere. But the rest of the test is scored. And they don’t even give you a warning that it is coming. It just pops up on the screen, and you are in a room of other test-takers and cannot blurt out any expletives. I mean, I think I deserve some extra points for not blurting out, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!!!!!”, which is totally what I was thinking.

Because here is what the fuck happened: I aced the verbal reasoning. I am pretty sure that I nailed the writing assessments. I bombed the fucking math. Fuck. FuckityFuckFuckFuck. However, I scored so well on the verbal that my scores are competitive anywhere–Wharton, Harvard, Keenan-Flageler—any of the big B-schools. I fucking did it. But then I start revisiting the requirements for my first-choice school. GPA 3.5. Okay. GMAT score greater than 470. Okay. (GPA x 200) + GMAT> or = to 1070. Yeah, okay. I’m good, right?

No. Halt. Big screeching brake sound here. Because they want a certain percentage of the GMAT score to come from math. Fucking math. And my score was so unbelievably lopsided.

I aced it, and yet I still have to retake it.

Shit.

I am pissed. I want to shout from the rooftops that I have never done poorly on any test ever. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever even gotten a B on an exam. I certainly have never gotten a B in a class. I can write when I have to. I test remarkably well. What the fuck????

Oh and did I mention that the exam was, like, $300? Not counting prep materials. And I have already gone to the store and purchased a program specific to GMAT math. Feel free to take up a collection for me. I have to wait 31 days to retake that fucker, too.

I would rather shoot myself in the eye than take that fucking exam again.