Response to the following discussion post.(No sources are required)
Discussion topic:Based on your experiences as a child, adolescent, or adult, what is one memorable/powerful sociocultural observations you made that contributed to your belief that you were capable of becoming a graduate student?
Discussion post: I wish I could think of a single defining incident, but the patterns I observed in others as an adult were the most influential outside factor in me believing I was capable of becoming a graduate student. I had multiple false and irrational beliefs around grad school, namely that I need a 4.0 and math aptitude to get in, no matter the program. The GRE scared me (I left algebra in high school where it belongs), and my undergrad major was chosen to avoid test taking in favor of discussing literature and writing papers.
Before said undergrad, I was briefly a nursing major. A friend of mine failed Intro to Anatomy when we took it together. I slipped by with a C and moved on. She took the class again and ended up with an instructor that taught the dense, memorization parts differently, with a lot of repetition and drills. She aced the class, finished nursing school, and is a thriving RN (with a master’s) today. Needless to say, I am not.
During one of my favorite critical theory classes as a senior English major, a novelist used a geometry concept that I had learned in elementary school. I could not remember it, and neither could my rockstar professor—a classmate had to come to the board and teach us all how to find the circumference of a circle (or something similar—I can’t remember for sure).
After college, when I was bumbling around corporate roles the past 15 years, I started asking people in my network their grad school stories. One lawyer had to retake the LSAT because she did so poorly the first time. Another friend bombed the GRE his first round, in-part due to his evening out the night before. My own therapist only got into one of the three programs he applied to, and shares my perfectionism-avoiding mantra of “B’s Get Degrees.”
I learned a few lessons from all of this. 1. No one knows everything, and there are different types of intelligence. 2. I may not be their top straight-A candidate, but I can absolutely meet the requirements for admission. 3. The people I know that got into—and finished—their graduate degrees have all had setbacks. They were just good at trying a different approach, showing up next semester, and getting their exams and papers done on time. I have strengths and life experiences that make good counselors, and I re-learned enough 7th grade math to get a decent GRE score.