I Don’t Love You More


When I got my ACT results the first time, I sort of knew that I was going to take it again. I had gone in basically blind, with maybe a few test-taking techniques stored in my brain from a 2-day prep session I went to a few weeks prior. I didn’t do any cramming or studying. I just wanted to see where the base was for me, and go from there. I didn’t expect to get a 32. It just kind of happened. 

Bear in mind, I am not the smartest person out there. I might be pretty smart, but I know people smarter than me that scored worse than I did. I’m just a good test-taker; I don’t get test anxieties or get distracted easily. This is a huge advantage when it comes to standardized testing.

Now, when I announced that I got a 32, people told me not to take it again. They said that I was fine, that I could get into any college with that score. And they were right, it wasn’t about needing that college requirement. I just knew I could do better. I didn’t want to say that I just pulled that out of a hat without studying; I wanted to improve, to have the best I could do be the score that I have.

So I took it again.

This time, I studied like mad the week before the test. Basically an hour every day, I was taking practice tests and timing myself and working to improve my score. I didn’t want the $60 my parents paid to have me retake it be for naught. So I studied. And when the test rolled around, I felt ready.

But I realized something the night before the test-I didn’t want to retake it. I’d been so eager to improve my score, I forgot how stressful the test could be. What if I did worse? I was sending these scores to colleges, what will they think if they see a great score and then an average score? Will they think the one was just a fluke? I had my ideal score, what was I doing?

I think I just got a bout of nerves, because it was too late to back out anyway.

I took the test on Saturday, April 9th. It was both better and worse. I felt more prepared, but every time I was unsure of an answer, the voice in my head would go “if you get that question wrong it could be the difference between a good score and a bad score”.

But a test is just a test, and in four hours I was free to leave and wait 3-6 weeks for my scores to come.

Well, my scores came back this week.

And my mom had the greatest response to what I received. “I don’t love you any more than I did”, she said. Which I think is perfect. It doesn’t matter what I got on the ACT; it doesn’t define who I am. People don’t put that sort of thing on their resumés. It’s not going to matter 5 years from now, much less 20. The people I really care about don’t need a higher ACT score to love me-they do anyway. I was so worried and driven about improving my ACT score, but now that I have it’s like I’ve transcended the ACT. It’s just a number. I am proud of myself for improving my score, and I need to be content with what I’ve earned. People don’t need a 36 to be the smartest in the world; there are people just as smart if not smarter that received 26s or 28s.

I am not my test score. And neither is anyone else.

32 is just a number. And now, 34 is just a number. (But, that being said, they’re my numbers.)

“It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.” ~Peter Buffet


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