Heading to Grad School – What’s happening with you?

Don't think too much!Well it’s about that time – heading to Clemson for graduate school in August and I’m excited, yet a little apprehensive.  I remember when I took the GRE a year ago, and how I felt when my scores came in.  I didn’t know if they were good enough, and that made me a little fearful.  How do you know if going to Grad school is for you? That’s a question I asked myself over and over again, especially since I’m older than many of those who are going to be attending with me this fall.  I had a social networking friend contact me with this interactive website that answered some of the basic questions and helped me along the decision making process, and it was fun and made me laugh.  I thought I would share it with you guys who are thinking about taking that big step towards higher education.

As Celine said it’s “an interactive and light-hearted adventure book that helps students decide if they should pursue grad school.” Here is the web address.  http://www.onlinecolleges.net/the-great-grad-school-debate/

I emailed her back and told her that I choose ‘Unicorns and Rainbows.’  And if you’re wondering what the heck that means, you need to go there and find out! 🙂

Up-Date on the Adventure of the GRE test!

Luckers and his Sad Face

Luckers and his Sad Face

Well it is over.  Yay!  I have to tell you it was the most stressful thing I’ve done so far in this saga of continuing my education.  While I didn’t take the old format of the GRE, the new one still smoked my brain.  I told my boyfriend that if he was there, looking into the camera screen, he would see fumes pouring out my ears, because the cogs in the wheels of my mind were working overtime. 

I have to say that taking this type of Exam was indeed an adventure.  The  test center was in another city (Dahlonega) about an hour and half from my house over Blood Mountain.  Winding around hair-pin curves, I grew anxious the closer I got.  The instructions said that if I was not there 30 minutes before the test began, they would close the door and I wouldn’t be allowed in, thus forfeiting the costly fee.  I had 20 minutes to go and I hadn’t even reached the bottom of the mountain yet. 

The driving directions weren’t all that great from the map I pulled from the website, but I managed to find the location with five minutes to spare.  Told to take a seat in the row of desk lining the wall outside the exam room, I was given a clipboard and forced to fill out paperwork.  45 minutes later, I was escorted into a small room  just outside the main exam area.  TVA and airport security doesn’t have anything on these people.  Told to stand upon a white line, I was wanded with a metal detector from head to toe.  Then the lady in charge told me to pull out my pockets, lift up my pant legs, show her my wrists under my sweater.  There was some tension for a moment when I showed them my DL because I signed up under Connie Wallace instead of Constance Wallace.  (I got a very stern glare).  They didn’t know if I could be allowed in to take the test with the name difference.  I may not be who I said I was and could be taking the test for Constance Wallace.  0.O  I shrugged my shoulders and said that I forgot the formalities when I was signing up on-line.  After they made me drag out every bit of information in my wallet, including two credit cards, my college student ID, and my Rite-Aid discount card, they finally noted that they would just have to do a report on me and hope that ETS didn’t reject my scores because of it.  WHAT!!!!????

I next had to put all my stuff into a locker and was told that I could not take off my sweater or shoes in the enclosed testing area. I had cowboy boots on, I don’t think I would be able to take them off without some help.  Next I was buzzed into THE room.  This testing area was behind double pane glass that reminded me of bullet proof glass.  (I wondered for a brief moment, if there had been individuals before who may have went crazy in the testing center.  A quick mental picture of straitjackets flashed before my eyes.)  The lady who escorted me in had me stand against the wall until she readied my cube.  Then she motioned me over and told me to sit there and not to get up.  If I needed to go to the bathroom I had to raise my hand. NO talking to anyone either she whispered.  While I was signing in to the computer I looked up and saw a camera aimed right at me.  It reminded me of Big Brother in George Orwell’s “1984.”  I suddenly felt very conscious of every movement.

After 4 and 1/2 hours of staring into the screen clicking “A, B, C or D,” I finished.  The screen gave me my scores.  152 in Verbal and 144 in Math.  (Have to wait on the analytical writing part).  I did a quick scan on the internet to find out how the new test scores are compiled and what makes a good score.  Both sections are graded on a scale of 130 to 170.  (150 – 155 is about average).  It’s about what I expected.  I’m pretty average and I’m okay with that.  Hopefully, as I apply to graduate programs for my Masters and then PhD education, I won’t have to retake the GRE.  I’d rather rub poison ivy on my arms.

The Adventures of taking the GRE

Well end of the semester came and went.  Managed to eek out good grades again. But now I am on to my final year of undergraduate work and Friday I must take the dreaded GRE.  I took a practice test the other day and in most of the verbal sections I did not get ONE question right.  I got more Math right than Verbal.  Hey, aren’t I supposed to be a history major??

Going to graduate school means you must know big words that many people have never even heard of.  For example:  Loquacious, which means “talkative” or mendacity which means “untruthfulness.”  Can’t say I’ve ever used either one of these in normal conversation, but I guess if I was at some big important get-together with professors, I could wow them with my knowledge of those words by injecting a sentence or two into polite conversation.  “Man, she sure was loquacious last night during the movies.”  Or perhaps “His mendacity is going to make me very angry!”  Now if any normal average American looked at these sentences, they would probably think many other things than the definitions I just gave you.

While studying my book I got on mastering the GRE: A Strategic Approach, I was able to finally get some verbal questions right.  I also did run through the math section and became familiar with all the formulas I once knew about 30 years ago, but have forgotten, because everyone knows most people do need algebra skills once they leave high school.  Anyone here remember the FOIL rule for algebra equations?  Well it is going to be an adventure on Friday.  I did give myself a small consolation that if I do badly I can retake it again in about 60 days, but I will have to study all summer.  Man, wouldn’t that be a bummer.

Recommendation for GRE help: “New GRE Premium Edition: A Strategic Approach” by Doug Tarnopol  www.rea.com/gre

History is my Cup of Tea! The HORROR of Math.

Thor Puppy frazzled by Math

This week is the first week back to classes here at Young Harris College.  I am not taking as many history courses as I normally do (which is about four) because I added the certification courses for education, to teach high school while I am attempting my graduate program.  I say attempting because there is this wonderful test called the GRE which I will have to take next year in order to apply to Graduate programs.  In the practice test, there are several sections, one being math, that you are tested on.  Anyhoo, its been well over 20 years since I was a college student at LSU at Shreveport.  While I was a math education major then….its been well over 20 years if you get my drift.

Looking at the practice test in quiet horror, (hmmm maybe that could be the basis of another story) I came to realize that I may not make any correct answers on the GRE when it comes to Math, as every problem looked like some foreign chemical formula of which there was not any correct answer in my brain.  I even had several nightmares after reviewing this practice test.  One which included going into Dr. Thomas Stearn’s 1950s history class (Dr. Stearns is the department head for history at Young Harris College)  for the first day and getting a “F” because I did not get the email about some Math paper that was supposed to be done over summer.  So this situation has completely taken over my conscience being, and is waging war with the sane me.

I asked a young Project Engineer here at my work about the situation, since he just graduated from Georgia Tech.  Being very helpful, he directed me to this great website for Math help.  Its called Pauls Online Math Notes and is a site from Lamar.  http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/  It has a tutorial for those of us who have completely been brainwashed into believing Math has taken a detour to outer space, and will be never obtainable in normal understanding.  So I will be spending some time on this little website trying to recover any inkling of what Math has to offer.  But to be quite frank, History is my cup of tea, and I do not know if this brain, which contains the history of our world, is big enough for any of those pesky Math equations.