Millions of American students this year will take the Scholastic Assessment Test, commonly known as the SATs, which means that this year, millions of students will feel stupid.
Oh, don't feel bad, SATs, I know you're just trying to help colleges make the right decision, but your rigid numbers, evaluating what a group of people decided was "intelligence", scare the living fudge out of this generation, moi included.
I recently got my test scores back from a May assessment. Nothing bad, just nothing great, at least according to the nuisance of a perfectionist brain I have been cursed with. It made me think of the inflexibility of numbers, their inability to compromise and show diversity, which reminded me of a similar tool humans use to assess their characteristics in comparison to others.
Can you guess what that is? (it's in the title, by the way. 800 on critical reading for you, glen coco!)
The parallels are really quite frightening, considering the magnitude of both these assessments in the average American life.
-both are construed of numbers, simply numbers.
-both are inevitable comparison enablers.
-both are widespread.
-both, in the grand scheme of life, mean nothing.
Here's what I understand to be true about these numbers.
If you are obsessed with your bathroom scale, or that darned Superscore, listen up. This is important:
Just like the number on a weight scale cannot tell you everything about your health, your SAT score doesn't give you the whole picture on your intelligence. Here's why.
1. Numbers are fickle. Sorry mrs. Morin, 11th grade math teacher, it's true. If you were to weigh Dwayne Johnson, the scale would probably break. And his BMI? forget about it! Characterized as obese right away, even though that man could probably lift the island of Manhattan with one bicep.
Same goes for your intelligence. Maybe math is not your thing, but you are a fantastic listener, showing deep emotional intelligence. Maybe you are amazing at sketching, demonstrating a great depth perception and artistic intelligence. The SATs cannot possibly know that, so it's important that you do:)
2. Comparison Schmoparison. It's easy to compare numbers, but at the end of the day, it's simply illogical. I once knew a girl, very petite, only measured 4 foot 9, and weighed 95 pounds. OF COURSE she weighed 95 pounds, she was miniscule. I'm almost a foot taller, I could cut off both my legs and still not weigh 95 pounds! Comparison is futile.
As previously mentioned, different types of intelligence cannot be measured by the SATs. Maybe the girl in your trig class got a 2350, but can she write/draw/dance/sing/be a good friend like you? I think not.
3. There are many diseases in life that are both terrible and widespread. Homophobia? Still a big thing. Malaria? Still hugely widespread. BMI? Still being used, even though mother Science has proven it to be completely inaccurate. Just because everyone and their grandma takes the SAT, doesn't mean it's good. Don't misunderstand me, definitively take it, but don't take its results personally.
These tests are there because they help us understand ourselves a bit better, in easy-to-define terms, but they should never define us.
You are worth so much more than your score.
(hihi that rhymes, enter the poetry contest here)