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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I May Have Been an English Major, But....

I've been in higher education since 1996.

OK. Minus the 4 summers I worked at camp from 2002-2005. But it was sort of like being in higher education since I worked with college students.

That counts, right? Right?

Anyway, I have worked in many areas of higher education. I've been a residence hall director (oh the stories I could share!), worked with new student orientation, taught English at a 4 year university, taught English and College Algebra at a 2 year tech school, and now I'm an academic advisor. I love working at a university. I have said for many years that if I could have ever majored in "college" I would have done it.

And while I recognize that people come from different backgrounds, is it too much to ask that you not ramble at me like you're reading from a thesaurus?

I got an e-mail from a student that seriously caused me to reach for my American Heritage Dictionary to see what the word meant.

I'm not kidding.

The same thing happened last week when a committee that I'm on, sent around a draft of a new policy that will soon be a part of the upcoming catalog. I read this one sentence over, and over, and over again (and over again!) and I realized that I had no idea what one large word was referring too. Again, American Heritage and I spent some quality time together.

Part of me is a little embarrassed that I'm admitting that I had no idea what these words meant. And another part of me thinks that people who want to get their way sometimes like to use big words to sound "powerful" or "smart".

I will be the first to admit that when I took the GRE to get into grad school I did not do well on the language part.

We interrupt this blog post for a flash back to 1996
So, when I realized that I wanted to go to graduate school, I made the decision way too late. Like when you're in high school, you should really be looking at grad schools a good year or 2 in advance.

Not me. I made the decision to go to grad school during Christmas break in 1995.

I was graduating in the spring of 1996.

It was after I decided on the school (Murray State University in KY) that I realized that I needed to take the GRE.

Excuse me. What? GRE? Oh, yeah. That test that is sort of like the ACT to get into college, but only for graduate school. Riiiiight. In talking to my very-prepared-for-her-future friend, Nancy, she said, "There is a test in April."

It was currently late March.

I bought the GRE for Dummies book (irony, maybe?) and focused on bit and pieces. I then went to take the exam with my normal exam attitude, If I don't know it now, I'll never know it, and noticed a girl flipping through a small notebook. She was memorizing endless lists of words. I looked at Nancy and said, "What's up with her?" Trying to sound cool, but really freaking out in my head.

That's when Nancy dropped the bomb on me. "Kelley, most schools look at the language and the math highly. You need to do well on those." Oh. Great. Tell the girl with the test anxiety that I need to concentrate on that!

I took the exam and let's just say that after it was done I never wanted a drink more in my life. And I'm not a drinker.

But I passed. And passed with enough of a margin that I was actually accepted at two schools.

And even though that test is long over--and I still don't recall anything I was tested on--it still doesn't make me want to memorize the dictionary.


Rachel Ann said...

Ok, so I'm a word nerd and now I'm curious as to what the two words were that made you go looking in the dictionary!

I started grad school a year ago...thankfully no GRE...but I had to take the PRAXIS (Education Major), and I passed with the minimum score possible! However, a week after I got my results I received notice from my school that WA State was no longer taking the scores from that test and that I would have to take ANOTHER test costing ANOTHER chunk of change! UGH!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Yeah - what were the words!!!!

Tracy Griffin - Artist said...

No umbridge taken here! :)
Yeah, what were the words??

Trailboss said...

My oldest brother went to Murray State. I only took 1/2 year of community college....I hated it! It was like high school all over again. It sounds like you might live in the same town I work in!

Jane! said...

I love big words. I think it comes from having to much-older brothers. My only defense against them was to use words they didn't understand. They never knew if I was complementing or insulting them.
You were a Fighting Sioux?? I was a Bison... without the big coat.

EmmaP said...

hahaha! too funny! i do use some words - which I thought were common - and people will look at me like - "here she goes again!" I think part of it depends on the words that were part of our everyday-growing-up-language, like what our parents said. But I DO hate when people use so many big words ALL the time. It's like - quite trying to impress me. just be real.

Julie at Inmates said...

You should have totally shared the words with us.... My father in law had to ask me what bling was last week. I got a kick out of it!!! Websters Included it this year. =) I enjoyed your post!!!