I hate the ACT.
I make it known to as many people as I can, at whatever opportunity I can. It’s a test that’s made too important amongst my classmates and my family. Every time the topic comes up in school, I feel stupid. Every time it comes up at home, there’s tension. Friends use it as a basis for comparison, and it makes me feel like I’m stupid. The crazy thing about it is, I did well. But, in my high-performing magnet arts school, so many people did better, and it’s held over my head like a cloud that rains on my parade at the worst times.
And there’s so much riding on this score. One point is the difference between acceptance and rejection from your dream school. From a free ride to thousands of dollars of debt. One mistake, one misread question, one math concept that happens to slip your mind, and you consider yourself a failure when your score comes back. No matter how smart, how talented, how awesome you know you are, if you know someone who did better than you, you’ll have a little voice in the back of your head, whispering bad things into your conscience. Why didn’t you do as good as her? You’ll never succeed.
At least, that’s how it is for me. Maybe you aren’t that affected by the test. I can assure you that you’re an anomaly. With this test, the general anxiety is through the roof. Young kids are worried about their parents, about their schools, about their lives. It’s one of the most unfair things in life. A sixteen year old shouldn’t have to feel like their entire lives depend on the fate of test-makers who have bad intentions and set you up to fail. We can’t smoke, we can’t drink, we can’t vote, and we can barely drive. Apparently, we can have a developed enough brain to be able to hold copious amounts of content (and pull the right parts of it quickly), have enough logic to learn and apply strategy, and be able to maintain a stable enough mental state to take this test successfully. It’s a scary thing we go through.
I take the ACT on Saturday. I am more than ready to take it. I’ve put in too much time, too much thought, too much physical exertion. My brain hurts and I’m tired. I want to cry, but I don’t think I physically can anymore. This test has made me resent my friends, be ashamed in front of my family, and hate myself. I know there will be more trying things in my life in the years to come. As a matter of fact, I’ve gone through things far worse than the ACT. However, none of these things have made me have such a negative outlook. There’s usually a silver lining to everything, but the only silver lining here is that, in a couple days, this will all be over. You’d best believe I’m more than excited to be rid of this torture test.