I started making preparation for the application of master programs when I was 22. I spent two years studying GRE and TOEFL. 3 TOEFLE tests and 2 GRE exams had been taken.
I am 25.
It’s been a marathon, a marathon full of valleys and bumps, a marathon paved with dirt and rocky roads, a marathon of loneliness and self-doubts. However, it’s a marathon that makes you grow and fearless, makes you taste the fruit of change and limitlessness of yourself.
You need to be a gladiator, a wolf, and a warrior. You need to know how to prioritize your long list and personal desire.
I still remember I rushed into GRE private academy after a 13-hour documentary shooting of my graduation project and dragged myself into midnight subway after class; I remember after a 9-hour substitute military service for local government, I still need to go to library staring at my laptop watching TED talk so as to practice my listening; I still remember how frustrated I was as I first got my TOEFL score…
This happens to anybody. The feeling of aimlessness, exhaustion, removal of hedonism that your peers are enjoying happens to everyone who is ambitious or more as I was and aware that this is the only path to elevate him/herself to a higher level, and there is no way to turn back.
By saying this, it’s because you would probably have seen a myriad of advertisements of how people get 160+ score in GRE within six months or how people get into Ivy League. No one, sadly, tells you that how lonely, dark, and challenging the journey is behind the glamour.
By the way, not everyone needs to spend over $50,000 a year to prove that he/she is smart and able to hunt a job with that certificate. Choosing the university that fits your academic needs is all that matters. I was once so eager to go to NYU and Northwestern, but after going to Mizzou, I realize how shallow and dangerous that thought can be: Even you spent hundreds of dollars buying a pair of Manolo Blahnik high heels that draw all attentions but don’t fit your feet at all, you know deeply inside your heart that under the gorgeous embroidery is your swollen wounded feet.
Don’t pursue something blindly, especially education.
Prepare that you have a battle ahead.
Know that you are different and fortunate enough to be part of it.