I was planning to apply to PhD programs, then I decided I shouldn’t because it wasn’t the place for me, but then I found the perfect program.


I don’t think this dream will ever be mine.

Since I am not a citizen of the United States, I must submit my application by December 1st. And, since the application is all submitted online, I need a personal statement, resume, writing sample, and 3 references before that date. Ideally, since the referees must also submit their letters online, I need the rest in a little under 2 weeks time.

The major problem with all of this?

I have no GRE scores. I was admitted to my MA program on the strength of my undergraduate degree and my first months performance in the program. I currently have a 4.0 in my graduate program – but still, no GRE scores.

I am terrified to take that exam. I am terrified of math. I am illiterate when it comes to math – and I am ashamed to say it. My father left school at 11 my mother at about 14 (both after poor attendance)… no one in my family did math except how much change you needed or how much 4 of something would be. No one ever helped me in school … Radius and Pi and volume and area and …. what??!!

hell, I don’t even know my multiplication tables…. and that embarrasses me.

I’ve been holding back tears all afternoon because I can see my dream literally evaporating in front of me. I can maintain a 4.0 in my graduate program but most likely will NOT score the required 1150 on the GRE (even IF I manage to slam the verbal out of the park, that’s a lot remaining to pull up in the quant). I don’t even do quantitative research – preferring autoethnography/ethnography/narrative analysis to other methods.

I’m staring at yet another brick wall and this time, it seems insurmountable.

No one cares if you’re the first in your family ever to graduate high school, let alone get a Bachelor’s and head for a Master’s and PhD.

No one cares if you’re part of a minority for whom education historically has been extremely difficult to obtain.

No one cares if you have a 4.0 despite all of the walls you’ve had to tear apart with your own hands.

You still have to take the damn standardized test which highlights all the flaws you’ve fought so hard to disguise. None of the non-Roma in our town knew that any of my family were illiterate. We managed. Just as I’ve managed to get by with my terrible math deficit….

only now… I feel like an idiot. Like that small child I used to be who failed all of her classes because she didn’t understand.