I finally took the GRE today. That's right--it's now over! *big sigh of relief* Everything that I have been dreading (childbirth, Mohs surgery, and GRE) is now OVER, and I survived it all. I'm pretty much ready to kick March 2010 to the curb, but before I do so, a few reflections on the GRE...
* I suspect that this test would have been much easier and would have caused me far less stress if I had taken it as a college student or soon thereafter. I actually knew stuff then. As is, even with teaching, my brain has been slowly turning to mush for the last 9 years.
* Standardized tests are not designed for nursing mothers. While the people at the test center were very nice and as accomodating as possible, it was a timed computerized test, and the computer did not care if my body was overflowing with milk. I got a 10 minute break after the second section (of five). That was 10 minutes to sign out, retrieve my breast pump, lock myself in a public restroom, set everything up, pump (while simultaneously scarfing down my lunch), clean up, pitch my pump back into storage, sign back in, and return to my computer. Let us just say that this was not terribly effective as a way to empty out milk, but very effective at stressing me out.
* I would also not advise taking this test while recovering from surgery or nursing a head wound. While my spot has now scabbed over to the point where I don't need to bandage it daily (which is especially good because bandages don't stick to hair very well) and I have been able to end my regime of pain pills, I still have to take Tylenol several times a day. In short, my head hurts already, thanks, and a big monster test did not make it feel any better. I will be treating myself to some migraine pills shortly.
* Studying at 2:00 in the morning in college was only effective because I hadn't been to sleep yet for the night. I studied for the GRE every time I got up in the night to nurse, but the subsequent sleep deprivation mostly just made my brain feel fuzzy.
* I was hoping that my skills in logic and reasoning would get me through the quantitative section. Yeah, logic and reasoning help, but they will only take you so far if you haven't had a math class since 1997. Logic and reasoning do not remind you of the definition of "hypotenuse" or remind you what pi has to do with finding the area of a circle. You need actual knowledge to do those things.
* With all of those things said, I'm still happy with my scores (which the computer provides at the end of the test). Well, I don't know my writing score yet, but I'm not overly worried about that section. As my father said (while laughing at me for having been worried about it), "Do you realize that percentage-wise, you scored higher on the GRE than the SAT?" No, actually my brain is such mush right now that I won't be figuring any percentages again for a long, long time, so I'll just take your word for it. :)
So, phew. Now I can (hopefully) stop worrying about getting into grad school. Not that I'm going to take more than one or two classes a semester, and not that I'm even 100% sure that I'll ever even use the degree that I may someday get, but it's just such a relief to know that I don't have to stress over it anymore. With childbirth, surgery, and testing now behind me, I can just focus on this whole "being a mom of three kids" thing and figure out what that's all about. Because, after all, it's the most important job I'll ever have.