Patient X

Sidney’s exhaustion with personality tests reminds me of one of my favorite stories from high school. It was sophomore year, and I had my life planned out. I was going to Cedarville University to pursue a degree in Secondary English Education. After that I would join a small community high school and work my way up from a freshman base level English teacher to the AP English department head. All the while I would find a way to weasel my way in to the school’s drama department. I was set and ready to go. At least as long as I could ignore the tugging feeling in the back of my mind that teaching would be a horrible decision.

Now every sophomore at Taylor High School was required to take the ACT Explore. It was the worst day of the year, and yes that includes the day that we have an assembly to celebrate William Henry Harrison. You would divide up into your homerooms and take the test with them. Being the homeroom that met in the band room we had to go to a new, test friendly, location. The new location was administered by the two teachers that would, over the years, grow to be my two least favorite teachers. Bonus points if you know to whom I’m referring. I should have seen the bad omen that was staring me in the face, but hind sight is 20/20.

There’s a personality quiz at the beginning of the test before the ACT portion actually begins. There are always funny stories you hear of teachers that were told to be trash collectors or pop star, so I was excited to see what this test had in store for me. I answered the personality questions as honestly as possible.

The results came back and everyone flipped past the composite score to the only part of interest. I watched as friends became scientists and librarians and chefs, and then I flipped mine open. Now if you don’t know how this chart works, here’s the run down. They give you a wheel of careers that has similar careers closer and opposite careers on opposite sides of the circle. The circle will then shade the cluster with your potential jobs. Nothing on mine was shaded except an area labeled ‘Zone X’. My friends were becoming career experts and I was becoming the lead character in a teenage dystopian novel. I was the Giver or the Mockingjay or the Heir.

So what’s the point of this incredibly verbose story? I’ll admit that at first I was a little excited to be ‘the chosen one’, but mainly I was scared that not even a solid computer algorithm could figure out what I should do with my life. On one hand the test was good for me.  It made me realize that I really had no clue what I wanted to do. On the other hand, the test was no good. It didn’t help me figure out what I wanted to do. None of the tests I have taken since have provided any more clarity. So I guess there are two sides to anything. In other words, feel free to take as many personality tests as you like, but don’t be too excited when you become the next Harry Potter. I promise it’s not as interesting as the books make it out to be.



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