Taking the GMAT

I decided about a month ago to apply to NYU Stern and see what happens. Xianyi has really inspired me with her stellar academic work. She has been accepted to the Honors College at Pace on the basis of her outstanding freshman-year grades, which means they cut her tuition in half (NICE) and they are giving her a free Dell Mini-Netbook, which is cool. I’m kind of coasting at my job so I figure something like business school could kick up my career a bit. But mostly, I feel like I was really good at school for a while, and then I let myself down.

I was a natural talent (read:dork) in middle school, but started hanging out with the wrong kids (read:smoking weed) and slacking off, so my parents made me apply to boarding schools. I managed to get into one, where they taught me how to study like a champ (if not exactly how to kick that weed habit). I graduated cum laude and won the Latin prize. How’s that for being a total nerd?

Well, that got me into a great college, but what did I do? As soon as mom and dad said they were getting divorced (fall term, freshman year), I acted like a complete brat and purposely got terrible grades. Stopped going to class almost completely. Partied all the time. Had a campus job to keep my pockets full and treated that as my second responsibility – after partying. Academics were a distant third. I got suspended after a first-semester GPA of 1.5. The next semester I tried to rebound, because I didn’t want to get kicked out of school, but I almost got the boot because I couldn’t come around on Italian. I had to appeal to the board to drop the class late in the term. When that succeeded, I ended up with a 3.2 and was off probation.

Still, I never got it back. Graduated with a 2.9 cumulative. All because I had to be a wise-ass. I knew my parents couldn’t punish me for my grades, because of the divorce, and I wanted to stick it to them. What was I thinking, punishing myself to spite them?

Well – I got out in time. No real harm done. But hell, I used to kick ass, so I’ve decided to go back and do it. And now I’m studying for the GMAT, and it is a bitch. I read the Princeton Review book on it, and I thought – man, this is going to be a cakewalk. I got straight A’s in calculus; this test only covers arithmetic, algebra and geometry! But once I got into the nitty-gritty, I could see it was going to take some serious work.

So I’ve been in the NY Public Library almost every day for weeks now. Finished that whole book, then downloaded a free iPhone app with another 200 practice questions, and just finished all of those tonight. Some of this shit is really tough, and you gotta do it all in your head. No calculators, like we had in high school. The worst part is that you have only about 2 minutes to solve each of these problems! They often throw a whole bunch of math at you to get you confused, making you think you gotta calculate, with pen and paper, 2 to the 17th power… but no, there’s always a trick for those. Just like the SAT, just like the SSAT, just like every damn standardized test they ever came up with – it’s all about learning the tricks and knowing when to apply each one.

Taking the test Sept 11, and the application is due the 15th. Haven’t even started on the essays yet – 4 of them – but really, they won’t be much. Got my recommendations, got my (shitty) transcript. Lucky for me, one of the essays (optional) is “explaining why your transcript sucks.” Haha….

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