Monday, October 4, 2010

Masochism is the New Black

A while back, I got the extremely foolish idea to go back to graduate school.  Yes, you heard me.  BACK to graduate school!  This means I have already been to graduate school.  Did I graduate?  Yes!  So I already have a master's degree in a field that is most definitely not suited to me, and here I am, unemployed and stuck at square one.

So, amidst an ice cream eating frenzy littered with self-pity, I had the really stupid idea of going back to graduate school, only this time, to be a fake doctor!!  You know, the ones who have their "Ph.D", and call themselves doctors, but really it just means that they've been to school longer than half the population has been alive??  One of those.  Because you know, with a Ph.D. you are in a prime position to land a completely useless job with minimal responsibility and get paid bank to do it.  

Editor's Note:  No offense to any of you who are Ph.D.s, I figure since I may or may not be one of you one day I can say whatever I want.  Ahem.  

My field of choice is the ever-popular "social psychology", which basically means I would study people and their attitudes and how they act in groups and blah blah blah... Doesn't matter.  What does matter is that in order to return to graduate school, I have to do something I swore I would never ever do again once I graduated with my master's...  standardized testing.  Or, more specifically, the GRE.

Now, I was actually pretty smart when I was a wee tot.  Bonafide nerd, if you will.

Bianca in the 6th grade.
Haha, just kidding.  Bianca in the 12th grade.

I was one of those kids who took AP classes and really liked math.  So when it came to my attention that I would again have to take a standardized test to get into school, I thought, "Hey, I got this thing's ass kicked!  I don't even need to study!"

But, just to be safe, I ordered one of those horrible study books so I could "brush up" before taking the exam.  Once it arrived in the mail, I smugly opened it up and took the diagnostic exam so I could ascertain my true level of awesomeness. 

Turns out, I am a huge idiot.  

I guess I thought that I had an adequate grasp of the English language and elementary algebra, but that turns out to NOT be the case.  

For those of you unfamiliar with the format of the test, allow me to demonstrate.  What follows is an example of an actual GRE test question, followed by the question that actually registers in my puny little brain.  


The trick here is to read the analogy and choose an analogous analogy from the list of options.  (See?  The directions don't even make sense.)  Here's an actual example:


 (A) surgery: quack
 (B) quandary: craven
 (C) chicanery: trickster
 (D) forgery: speculator
 (E) cutlery: butcher

Here's what I see:


 (A)  intelligent thought: George W. Bush
 (B)  alcohol: Lindsay Lohan 
 (C)  my car's exhaust pipe: suicide
 (D)  lip gloss: Paris Hilton
 (E)  cliff: Thelma and Louise

Hmm, that's a tough call!  I'm going to go with..... C.  


Here, we are asked to choose the word from the options that is nearly opposite from the provided word.  

The question:


(A)  introversion
(B) deliberation
(C) anticipation
(D) gregariousness
(E)  equivocation

Yeah yeah, I know this is probably super easy.  But it's amazing how one forgets the meanings of words when they are presented out of any sort of context.  Here's what I see:


(A) smart 
(B) insightful
(C) Albert fucking Einstein
(D) genius

Sentence Completion:

Choose the words that best fit the sentence.

When facts are _______ and data hard to come by, even scientists occasionally throw aside the professional pretense of __________ and tear into each other with shameless appeals to authority and arguments that are unabashedly ad hominem.

(A) elusive...objectivity
(B) established... courtesy
(C) demonstrable... neutrality
(D)  ineluctable... cooperation
(E)  hypothetical... scholarship

Um.  Sure.  This is Bi's question:

Blah blah ________ blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah __________ ad hominem.

(A) I am a dumbass.
(B)  Please kill me.
(C) I'm never going to graduate school.
(D) What the hell is ineluctable?
(E) Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Reading Comprehension:

Oh, yes, finally, something I can do!  The answer is right in the passage!  

Cats can see in the dark.  Blah blah blah.

Why is your hair brown?

Or that may as well be what they ask, for most of the time the questions appear to have nothing to do with the passage itself.  

And don't even get me started on the math section.  I still have a trauma bond about the whole thing.

So I guess we have one more sad upshot of unemployment, which is coming to the realization that you have no skills or abilities any more because you are an old woman who has been out of school way too long.  

I refuse to admit defeat, so I have actually scheduled the exam for October 28th.  I tell you this so that I won't chicken out at the end and cancel it.  Once it's published to the web, it has to happen!!!  I shall let y'all know how horribly I end up doing, so everyone can give me their words of encouragement and pity.. Or perhaps laughter and ridicule, which I am okay with.  

I guess I better get used to reading that damn GRE book.  SIGH.

Wish me luck!!!


Sara said...

I think just reading through your fake questions gave me hives.

Standardized testing can BLOW ME.

theTsaritsa said...

I fucking hate those tests! I was going to go to grad school until I started studying for the GRE and got frustrated. They make those tests difficult and tricky on purpose so that you have to take the test again. It's all a money-making scheme.

Inky said...

You can do it, Bi!

As a part-time SAT instructor, I can't really bash standardized tests (because I need groceries more than I need ideals). However, the GRE is kind of a soul-munching bear.

The best way to prepare is (gur..) practice! Maybe check if your local test prep center (Kaplan or Princeton Review) offers free practice tests? I know mine does. GOOD LUCK!

Cole Garrett said...

LOL. Good luck. I despise standardized testing. I don't think it's a good measure of intelligence. I mean, come on, skullduggery? Really? Even if you DID know those kinds of words, do they really qualify one candidate over another?

Erin (uaoo) said...

Best of luck! You'll be great!

Roxanne and Lorraine said...

Reading through this brought on flashbacks like no one's business. Since I've been avoiding school for a couple of years now, those flashbacks were to the SAT's and not something more awesome and accomplished like the GRE's

So. What I'm saying is: Good luck!