Tomorrow I take the GRE. I’m taking it as part of my attempt to get into the MFA program in Creative Writing at BSU. It’s just the standard test, and the only thing the MFA program looks at is the verbal, but I am scared stiff.

Standardized tests used to be easy for me. I have never studied for one in my life, yet I consistently scored in the 98th-99th percentile on both verbal and mathematics throughout my primary and secondary education. It was the one thing in life that I was really good at, and though I’ve learned since then that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as it seemed to when I was in school, I still took a lot of pride in the fact that I could test well. But it’s been 15 years since I’ve gone to any type of schooling, and I’ve spent the last ten years of my life with the world telling me I’m stupid and me believing it, so now even the practice tests I’ve taken intimidate me. The verbal portions haven’t been too bad, but the computational are AWFUL — it’s so much easier to practice reading and writing on your way than it is to practice geometry and algebra. And I’m wondering if it is really possible for a person’s brain to melt.

Even more important though — I think the world tells EVERYONE that they are stupid, that they can’t do things, that they should just give up. I don’t know why, it just seems that way. And I wonder, how do people get past that? Are they just particularly strong to be able to rise above it, or particularly stupid to be ignorant of it, or what? And how in the world do you get past that and not get cocky or cruel?

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