Saturday, June 28, 2014

Once Upon A Time, I Was 'Very Sure' ...

One of the many, many, many things that I love about my niece is that her idea of a good time is hanging out at my house on a Friday night and talking for three hours.

She's in the throes of college planning before her senior year. She is a very, very good student and has a very clear sense of what she wants to study. At the moment, however, she does not have a very clear sense of where she wants to go to school. There are contenders, but no school stands apart from the pack. And she hears the clock ticking.

I reassured her that she has, at the very least, the next two months to noodle around with all of this. I also tried to acknowledge that while yes, this is a very big decision, it is not a decision that will be cast in stone.

But she is very much a planner, my niece.

I can relate.

We talked about the ACT and the SAT and the importance – and unimportance – of test scores. They are one component, I reminded her, not the sole point on which any admissions officer will base a decision.

And as we talked, I thought about my own scores, pretty sure that I still had them in a file, tucked away.

So today, I looked.

Yep. Lower drawer, all the way in the back. My past.

What a trip, this glimpse into the time when I was 16 years old and "very sure" of what my future held.

Some of it made me laugh.

Recently, I reviewed the layout of the book of one of my clients, a doctor. I created a rather lengthy list of tweaks for her to share with her publisher. She cc:d me on a very nice note to the woman who had introduced the two of us. She wrote, in part, this: "Just wanted to let you know that when Beth read over the Interior Layout proof of my book, I decided she could also be a pathologist or a diagnostic radiologist or a forensic investigator. She can see things that the average person cannot."

Today, looking at my ACT results, I saw this:

I had forgotten about my radiology plan. It was secondary to my pre-med plan.

I am, of course, neither a doctor nor a radiologist. But I'm smiling, thinking that I've retained the trait that would have made me a good one. I've simply put it to another use.

At the time, though, I was very sure about medicine:


On the SAT, I was very certain. Leave it to the SAT to use "certain" instead of "sure."


I'm amused at my self-professed need for help with math skills. At least I knew that much about myself.

And I love that I wanted to go to a school that had programs for vocal music and student government.

I started singing in grade school. I sang in junior high. I sang in high school. I continue to sing today.

I was never a part of student government, but I like that it interested me as I headed into college.

If I had it all to do over again, I would major in political science.

Of that I am very certainly sure.

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