WOSTER: Life is full of testsBack in high school, I took a series of tests that resulted in the guidance counselor telling me I’d make a good doctor.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
Back in high school, I took a series of tests that resulted in the guidance counselor telling me I’d make a good doctor.
Well, as anyone who knows me can confirm, that was never in the cards. I grow weak at the sight of blood, and even the most casual of medical doctors likely sees blood at some point.
In college, I took a series of tests at Creighton University that seemed to be intended to measure my emotional well-being. I’m not sure it helped the administration of the university respond to a freshman from the middle of South Dakota by knowing that I sometimes had doubts about my place in the universe, which kind of was one of the questions. I’m sure there was a good psychological reason for the question, and for all the others on that test. I just never figured it out. I transferred to South Dakota State University after a single year of college, so maybe there was some validity to the concern over whether I doubted my place in the universe.
Back in the dark ages of higher education, way back when Hobo Day was barely half a century old rather than about to celebrate its 100th anniversary (Oct. 27, for those of you keeping score) when a person transferred from one campus to another, the person took some of the same tests the incoming freshmen were taking. That’s what happened to me, anyway, and I wasn’t alone. Half the guys on the fourth floor of Brown Hall that fall were transfers, and we were all taking batteries of tests along with the freshmen.
I recall taking a mathematics placement test of some sort. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time, because it was pretty basic stuff and I was, you know, a sophomore, not some lowly frosh. A kid from Austin, Minn., was taking the same test in the next desk over. We’d met for the first time the evening before. He lived down the hall in Brown, and when he looked up from his paper during the math test and said, “What do you say we bag this thing and go get a beer?” let’s just say he didn’t have to ask twice.
Apparently those tests were of some significance, because each of us wound up in a remedial sort of algebra class, handling the same kinds of problems we’d had as high school freshmen. It wasn’t challenging stuff, and we finished the course with high marks. Still, if I had it to do over, I might have stayed and finished the test instead of turning in a half-complete paper. Live and learn, right?
(It was the sort of experience that would have prompted my mom to say, “I’ll bet that taught you a lesson.” Sure, it did, Mom. Like I ever again in the next half century had a chance to take a college math placement course and decide whether to finish or cut out early.)
In my senior year at college, I took a series of tests for possible enlistment in the United States Air Force. The psychological evaluation questions seemed to run on forever. The question I remember was something like: Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? I believe it was multiple choice, and I believe I checked “Sometimes.” Apparently that wasn’t a great answer, because the Air Force arranged for me to talk to a counselor about it. The counselor asked if I thought I had a problem sleeping. I said sometimes I didn’t fall asleep right away when I went to bed but I didn’t think it was a problem.
“I don’t, either,” he said. Problem solved.
Most recently, I had a chance to take a personality-type test. Turns out, I’m the sort of person who likes to be alone more than with a bunch of people, who prefers to read and write instead of talking in a group and who is very loyal to his friends — the few he’s willing or able to make.
Finally, a test pegged me dead on. Now if I could just find an occupation that doesn’t include talking or being around people.