I once heard a rumor.
The rumor was that everything changes in grad school. You read with more focus, study more hours, take copious notes in every class, and prepare for tests weeks in advance. You can read 200 pages in a matter of minutes. Your idea of a long paper is anything over 20 pages. You laugh in the face of multiple choice tests. HA. Give me a Scantron sheet and watch me fly, weakling. You’re a pro. You take all the silly decisions you made in your undergrad and redeem them with your new-found knowledge.
Grad school reminds me of all the things I did wrong in my undergrad and leaves me in a dismal state of wondering why I haven’t changed. Seriously, procrastination, why do you win every time?!
I was reminded of these unfortunate misconceptions about 48 hours ago when I completed the first midterm of my grad school career. My mind went through a series of thoughts in the preparation process. Anyone who’s been in college can resonate with this:
“Oh, I have a test in a few weeks. I should totally start studying.”
2 weeks later…“Oh, I have a test in 4 days. I should totally start studying.”
2 days later…“When’s that test, again? WHOA. Monday?! Why haven’t I started studying?!”
Day of the test…“What…have…I…done?”
Ya’ll. This midterm kicked my tooshy-toosh. I mean, just look at the books it covered.
Don’t succulents and swirls that resemble a mid-2000’s Windows screensaver just scream, “Study me!”?
I make it sound like I don’t enjoy these topics. That could not be more wrong. Nerdy Laura LOVES this stuff. I geek out over counseling theories and human development. Oh, and in case you were wondering, everyone could use counseling. So, sign up and keep us future counselors employed, mmk? But don’t come to me yet. My knowledge hardly extends beyond Freud. And lawwwd knows you don’t want me to go there…unless you’re in love with your mother or father. In which case, please seek help.
Back to the midterm.
Like I said–it was brutal. Did you know that “short answer” in grad school actually means 1-2 page hand-written essay? And when you have to answer 10 of those “short answer” questions, you may lose feeling in your hands afterward? Essay tests are nothing new to me. But never ever have I ever taken such a long essay exam that my THUMB goes NUMB. After every question, I found myself doing hand and finger calisthenics. Honestly, the tip of my thumb is finally regaining feeling today. Who knew there was such physical prep work required for taking tests?
After 2 1/2 hours of “Hmm. I’ve answered ‘c’ 3 times in a row. Surely that can’t be right,” and thumb-numbing essay answering, I was finally done with my first midterm. While it was one of the hardest, most information-heavy tests I’ve ever taken, I felt confident in the material I studied and regurgitated (hate that word).
Up top, brain synapses!