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Todd Shively

You Are (Not) What You Score

Meet Todd, Magoosh’s newest SAT Expert Blogger!

I am not a poster-y kind of teacher. You know the ones I’m talking about—those posters teachers order from Scholastic catalogues that have faded colors and cheesy slogans about recycling or verbs or the water cycle. So when I am in a classroom other than my own, I wonder to myself if they are much more than the next decade’s trash.

But there is at least one poster from elementary school that I still have written in crayon on my brain: You Are What You Eat. It probably had a kid fashioned out of vegetables and fruits. He was probably showing his bicep, but the message was clear. If you eat junk food, your body will be junk, and you may die by the time you are 33. If you eat good food, your body will look like this month’s Men’s Health cover model, and you’ll live to be 102.

And this is true. Sort of. Sometimes. Maybe. Isn’t health and longevity more complex than that? There are still dozens of questions to explore. What is the relationship between a food and the land in which it’s grown? How do our bodies react to specific combinations of foods? How does exercise fit in? Genetics? Sunshine? What you eat is significant, but it isn’t the only thing.

It is easy to be consumed by the college application process in general and the SAT in particular. As you begin to work toward a strong score, remember that your college applications are more than that score. Work hard in school. Volunteer for a local charity. Join the chess club. Write and re-write and re-write your personal essay. All these things are significant in varying degrees as you work toward your post-high-school goals.

Furthermore, remember that you yourself are more than that score. Play piano for the joy of it. Eat pizza with your friends. Bake cookies with your mom. Read those lines from Hamlet again because you know how he feels. And remember that you are not your score, but a Hamlet-loving-pizza-eating-cookie-baking piano player too.


About Todd Shively

Todd Shively is an ancient graduate of Purdue University, where he changed his mind so many times that he finished with a major in English and a minor in math. He has taught high school in three different states and currently teaches in Scotland, where he lives with his family. In his spare time he bakes his own sourdough bread and tries to work those carbs off doing Crossfit.

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