The Impact A Single Career Test Can Have

In middle school, my Health & Careers teacher provided my seventh grade class with a career test. Surely, my teacher had good intentions — a career test is a great way to gage a student’s interests and line them up with a potential future job. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of careers in the world — how were we to know where to even begin to look? However, there was a major flaw with the way this test was presented to us.

source: https://www.petersons.com/college-search/toefl-test.aspx

At that age, I had been placed in gifted classes, hearing constant praise from both my parents and teachers. I assumed that, because of this, I would have a job that was meant for the smartest and most gifted students. In fact, I didn’t even consider my interests when researching a potential career for myself. I knew that I wanted to be a neurosurgeon — a career that, in my mind, was only meant for the brightest students in the world.

Ignoring my interests, I filled out my teacher’s online career test with this specific career in mind. Unconsciously, I answered the questions in a way that I thought a future neurosurgeon would. Unsurprisingly, the first suggestion I received was a neuroscientist. And, at the time, I was ecstatic. I mean, this was a job for the best & the brightest, right?

Again, I know my teacher had the best of intentions when assigning us to fill out this test. However, I wish she had made it a bit more clear that we weren’t to fill this test out with a pre-determined career in mind — instead we should keep our minds open, answering as honestly as we could. I’m sure that if I had, my career options would have better reflected my personality & interests at the time.

Nevertheless, I took this single career test’s results as a verification that Medical School was for me. It wasn’t until very recently actually that I’ve even seriously considered a career outside of medicine. Now that I have, though, I feel relieved. I’m pursuing a career that I think (and hope!) will align with my interests & talents much more.

I’m excited for the future. If I can provide advice to anyone out there, don’t take a single career test’s results as fact. Don’t choose a career because of what you think is expected of you. Find what makes you happy.

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