Testy

It has been a week and a half since I took the GED test, and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt antsy while waiting for the results at all. I knew I had done my best, that it was out of my hands, and that I had a 3-4 week wait ahead of me…

Except….

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by our mailbox on the way to get some groceries and pulled out an envelope from the college at which I took the test. I blinked at it for a few moments, convinced it was just a “thank-you” letter, or a confirmation that they’d sent my results, or something like that. I carefully opened the envelope and peeked inside. I saw the words “Official GED Test Results” and my breath caught in my throat.

My results. Damn.. That was fast.

I took a deep breath, pulled the paper from the envelope and stared at it for a few seconds. I closed my eyes and slowly opened the tri-folded document. Cringing, I opened my eyes and searched for the mark that would tell me if I’d passed or not. My eyes fell on two little boxes that read: Passed, Not Passed.

My X was in the Passed box.

I PASSED. I did it!

I started laughing and did a little car dance (you know, when you want to dance when you’re in the car but you can’t really dance because you’re sitting down so you just sort of wiggle and flail your arms? No? Just me? Okay then). I abandoned my plans to grocery shop and instead, went out for a celebratory dinner with my family.

It’s a strange feeling, knowing that this big, intimidating thing that I’ve been avoiding for eleven years is now behind me. I’ve already scheduled my next step; a meeting with an adult education program to begin filling out financial aid paperwork so I can look into enrolling in college – maybe as early as this coming Spring.

Thank you all for your support. It has meant the world to me. You all have been my cheerleaders, and every single word of encouragement has boosted my confidence and made me smile. Thank you.

The GED Test – An Update.

It’s over. Six hours, two #2 pencils, and one wicked case of writer’s cramp later, my GED test is over. I did it. I filled in more little bubbles than I care to think about, wrote a five-paragraph essay, bought some cheap cafeteria food and breathed a sigh of relief when it was all said and done.

And now, I wait. I wait for three to four weeks to find out if I passed my test. I am relatively sure that I will. The only part of the test that I’m worried about is the math. I’m still terrible at math, and had to guess on a fair amount of questions. We will see what happens once I get my results. Luckily if I fail one part, I only have to take that part over rather than the whole damn test. I’m not worried about the other sections.

The next step is to fill out my financial aid paperwork and see what kind of aid I can get. After that, I’ll enroll in college in the Spring. I have no freaking clue what I’m going to study or where the experience will take me, but I feel like I have cleared the biggest hurdle – the one that’s had me jogging in place for eleven years. The GED test is officially behind me and now that it’s done, what’s left is a wide open road that could lead to a hundred different paths. And that is pretty awesome.

The GED Test

It’s been awhile since my last GED update post. In that post, I mentioned how the Fast Track class went (spoiler: it went fine except I have the math skills of a fifth grader. NOT KIDDING.).

The next step after Fast Track was the Official Practice Test. It was around four hours long, which sucked. I got lucky and instead of having to take the test the old-fashioned way (book and paper, filling in those goddamned little bubbles), I got to take it on a computer. Instead of having to take the same part of the test as everyone else, I was free to pick the order in which I completed each part. I wasn’t restricted by time; if I finished a certain section earlier than the time allotted, I could go ahead and move on to the next section instead of having to wait. It was pretty great.

Anyway. I did one part of the English sections first. I was going to save math for last because I was dreading it so much, but I decided to go ahead and get it out of the way while my brain was still relatively fresh and un-fried from test-taking.

Turns out that was a good idea, because by the time I got to the last test I was just like BE DONE BE DONE MY BRAIN IS BURNING.

Four hours of testing will do that to you.

I got my results that day. In order to qualify to take the official GED test, I had to score a minimum of 610 points in each section. I got a perfect score in my essay writing, high scores in everything else, and as for the math?

I got a 670. A whole 60 points higher than the minimum score requirement! I was honestly floored. And ecstatic. I had passed! Not only had I passed, but I passed the math by a relatively decent amount!

I got all my paperwork together to register for the test and was on my way to the local community college to secure my spot.

Tomorrow, I go for my official GED test. It’s an eight hour test, and I’m really nervous about it. I’m not worried about any other part of the test but the math. It’s been a few weeks since I took my practice test, and I really hope that everything I crammed inside my brain has stuck around for the real test. I was going to use my few weeks to study, but I never ended up doing that. Whoops. If worst comes to worst, I’ll fail the math and have to re-take that part only. Best case scenario? I pass, and will be able to enroll in college in the Spring.

Wish me luck, friends. Tomorrow I take a big step into my future!

 

Math is the Devil.

I want to thank everyone who commented, “liked”, Tweeted, or supported me in other ways regarding my post “outing” myself as a high school dropout. I was in no way, shape, or form prepared for the outpouring of love and support that I received regarding going to get my GED. I’ve carried this secret around with me for so long, and have been so embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I never finished high school that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I posted about it on my blog. But my friends, my family, my coworkers and my blog readers have been cheering me on through this whole thing so far, and for that, I thank each and every one of you.

So, what’s happened since I posted? A LOT. Last Wednesday, I took my Fast Track course. Which was, in a word, interesting. In two words, it was interesting and scary. In THREE words, it was interesting, scary, and mind-numbing. In FOUR words, bacon.

The Fast Track course was four hours long, concentrating on two specific portions of the test: the essay-writing and the math.

DUN DUN DUN.

The word “math” is enough to send me into a corner, curled into a fetal position and sobbing like a little bitch. I am just awful at math. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t mention my scores from the assessment test in the last post: very high in English and Literature and in math? 5th grade. I’m. Not. Kidding. Grade 5. Naturally, after receiving the piece of news that my math skills are on par with a TEN YEAR OLD CHILD,  I was eager to get into the Fast Track class and brush up on my math skills.

We tackled the essay writing portion first, which was not a problem for me. I scored the highest score possible (on a scale of 1-4) and then steeled myself for two hours of math. In the course of those two hours, my brain was assaulted with terms like hypotenuse, isosceles, acute, parallelogram, area, perimeter and STABBING FOREVER.

Okay, so that last phrase was just in my head. Whatever. The interaction in the class went something like this:

Teacher: Okay, so now we’re going to figure out the hypotenuse of this triangle.
Me, Mentally: WHAT THE FUCK IS A HYPOTENUSE? I CAN SPELL IT, WATCH: HYP-
Teacher: To figure out the Hypotenuse-
Me, Mentally: THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN
Teacher: – you take *insert Charlie Brown teacher “wah-wah” noise while I stare at her in wide-eyed terror* Got it?
Me, Mentally: WORST DAY OF MY LIFE
Teacher: Now, who remembers Pythagorean’s Theorem?
Me, Mentally: I LIKE SKITTLES
Student Who is A Robot For Remembering: a2 + b2 = c2? (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had to Google “Pythagorean theorem” to remember what the actual formula was. I WIN AT THE MATHS)
Teacher: Correct!
Me, Mentally: RED SKITTLES ARE MY FAVORITE

You get the gist. That’s pretty much how the Fast Track course went. I won’t say it wasn’t helpful, because it did make the Official Practice Test slightly less intimidating and I did feel a little more prepared to tackle some of the problems I encountered on the test (more about the practice test in the next post). When I walked out of the classroom that afternoon I felt like someone had been bouncing a basketball off my face for two hours.

After Thursday’s class was over, I had one part of the process down and had two more to go: The Official Practice Test, and providing I passed that, the actual GED test. Stay tuned to see how my Official Practice Test went!

P.S. in case your math skills are amazing like mine and you were wondering, this is a hypotenuse. No judgments. Fifth grade math skills UNITE.

A New Chapter

I have a secret to share.

One that’s really scary and a little embarrassing for me to put out there where anyone who lay eyes on my blog can see. For over ten years, I’ve carried this little secret around in my pocket, only giving those I’ve known for a while and who I really trust a peek. My secret?

I did not graduate from high school.
And I have never gotten my GED.

Whew!

I tend not to divulge that information until I’ve known someone for a while because I’d like for people to get to know me without judgment. Let’s face it – people tend to view high school dropouts a certain way. I have to admit, I glean a bit of satisfaction when I finally do tell someone and see the surprised look on their face. I’m an intelligent woman. I don’t fit into the idea a lot of people have in their heads about what a high school dropout looks like. I’ve done well for myself in life so far without even so much of a high school degree. Until recently, not having a diploma wasn’t an issue for me; I got by with my intelligence, my ability to learn quickly, and my technology skills.

Something inside me changed recently and I’m not entirely sure what it was. I think that it was, in part, motivated by my mother’s death. My mother obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology when she was in her early forties, but never did anything with it. She was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life, but her mental illness and life choices spiralled out of control so quickly she never reached her potential. She was capable of so much more, and one day I realized…

So am I.

I realized that I didn’t want to look back on my life when I am old and regret never pursuing a higher education. There is something inside of me that I haven’t tapped into yet. I don’t know what it is, but something awoke inside of me yearning for more. Suddenly, I found myself desiring a diploma. I want my daughter to look at me one day and see that I accomplished something that wasn’t necessarily easy. I want to be an inspiration to her. I also don’t want to be defined as someone who didn’t finish high school – I’d rather be seen as someone who succeeded despite the choices she made early in her life.

So I’ve begun the process in getting my GED. I’ve taken my assessment test and scored high enough to follow what’s called the “Fast Track” process. I will attend one “refresher” course, then take the official practice test and if I pass that, I will go on to taking the official GED test.

If all goes well, with a little studying and luck, I could have my GED by the end of this month. From there? I’m planning on enrolling in college. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet – I am drawn to something having to do with writing or editing – but I’m just not sure. I may not even end up pursuing a college degree. I may just take some courses to hone my writing skills and keep my mind sharp. Who knows? I just know that I’m excited. I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I have gotten amazing support from my husband, my family, my friends, and my coworkers and bosses – which means the world to me. More than they all know.

Wish me luck, friends.

college graduates throwing caps into the air

(img credit GettyImages and Digital Vision)

Big Mama on Campus?

My friends, I think I might have lost my damn mind.

On my daughter’s 1st birthday I found myself standing in the shower when an idea ran headfirst into me, climbed up my body, burrowed into my brain and has been nesting.. Sleeping.. Growing. This is an idea that I haven’t entertained in a very long time and one that is overwhelmingly big and scary.

The idea?

Going to school. To college. Pursuing a career that can help sustain my family. I love my job, love where I work but at the same time, my family is only going to grow and expand, and so are our expenses. It’s not fair of me to expect my husband to do all of the financial contributing and advancing and so the idea took seed.

I started to think about what I could do with the rest of my life that wouldn’t suck my soul dry or drive me insane and what I came up with was teaching. Specifically, small children. Preschool/Kindergarten age. I don’t think I can handle a mass quantity of children any older than that.

Then I started thinking about all of the steps I’d have to take to get to where I’d like to be. The financial commitment. The time commitment. The fact that I want a second child sooner than 3 years from now. I’d be looking at possibly a 5 year commitment to furthering my education. Most people my age are done with their degrees, or are almost done with their degrees.

I sought the advice of my husband first, asking him if I was completely batshit for even entertaining that. However, my husband is amazing and asked me how anything I wanted could possibly be batshit? He then told me that he’d stand by me no matter what, and support me if it’s what I really wanted. I expressed concern at how difficult it would be and how overwhelmed I was. He told me that if anyone could do it, I could do it.

So I’ve decided to take small steps. Baby steps. Take it one little piece at a time and try not to look at the big picture so much but focus on small goals that I can set for myself and reach. I asked my brother for some advice because he is wise in the ways of college and higher education. He too gave me his full support, and suggested I make a list & timeline of small goals and long-term goals. He also reminded me to keep in mind what sort of time and emotional commitments I wanted with other things. Family, chorus, work, etc. I knew I sought him out for a reason.

So, there you have it. I’m entertaining the idea of chasing a degree in early childhood education. The idea is thrilling, exciting. I worked on a college campus for almost three years and I can remember walking around the grounds on my lunch breaks with my iPod playing and watching everyone. I would see them walking to and from classes, stopping to talk and laugh. I’d see them hunkered over books, notes, also listening to iPods.. And I wanted to join them. I wanted to be taking notes, reading books, and learning again. Does that sound crazy? I wanted to be a part of their world.

It’s also completely terrifying. I mean, it’s really scary to me for some reason. I think it’s because it’s such an unknown thing to me. Will I have the time to balance work, school, Nellie, my husband, chorus, and potentially having another child? Josh and I made a loose plan for baby #2, plans that will probably be implemented within the next year. Clearly going to school pregnant, and then with a newborn won’t be easy. In my heart I know I can do anything I put my mind to. I’m very determined, and I’m pretty good at getting shit done when I decide I want it done.

It’s a big step. But it’s a step to my family’s future. I want my kids to look at me and be proud. I want my kids to look at me and realize that if I can just up and choose to start at the beginning when it comes to college at the age of 27, then they sure as hell can do it, too.

Deep breaths. One foot in front of the other. Baby steps.