The worst part about the fear I am feeling right now is the knowledge that no, I have not prepared to the utmost of my ability.
I borrowed this GRE prep book from the library months ago. I intended to study a little bit of it every day, until I got to the practice exam. Then I could take it, and move on to the online study aids. I could work my way through the online practice work until I got to the practice tests, and then I could take them, practicing and practicing, until I knew for sure I was as prepared as I could be.
What actually happened is that I studied for a bit for 2, 3 nights in a row, then got discouraged by the wrong answers I was hitting. The book sat on the floor of my bedroom until I moved it to the table in the living room. From there I moved it to the top of the bookshelf. I carried it with me back east and sat it at the end of my guest bed. I carried it with me up north, and read snippets outloud to scoff at it. I brought it to the theater I was working at and left it in the audience, next to the tech booth. I left it in my bag for days when I was finally home, realizing how much time I’d wasted, and procrastinating further to avoid thinking about it.
Even in the past few days, I haven’t been able to keep a regular study schedule, even with the pressure on. Today I made it through all the strategy sections (not any of the practice ones) clear to the “take control of the test” chapter- all about how to maintain a confident attitude, a positive outlook that would benefit my score. It mentioned the months of studying, practicing, preparation I had been through, the online resources I had turned to, the confidence that knowing I was well prepared brought. As I read, I felt worse and worse- I had spent days, hours studying, not months. I didn’t even realize there were so many online resources. And I am not well prepared. If I had really- here I go- worked up to my potential, I would surely be confident tonight. I would feel certain that I would do well, that the good score I want was in the bag. But I didn’t, and I don’t.
So now I turn to the same part of the book that tells me how confident I am, and focus on a different paragraph. I quote:
“…this one test will not single-handedly determine the outcome of your life. In many cases, it’s not even the most important part of your graduate application.”
Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Breathe girl breath.
I know I will do the best that I can under the circumstances I have given myself. I know that I will probably do better than I expect to, based on the many assurances I have gotten that yes, one tends to do better than one expects, better than one thinks one has. I know that the outcome of tomorrow’s test will not singly determine my admittance to this grad program.
But I can’t help wishing I had given myself better circumstances.