Friday, October 29, 2010

day 4 : multiple-choice

Today, finally, I took the midterm I have been mentioning in my past few posts, and I have to say it wasn't as bad as I expected. It brought me back to the days of AP World/European/U.S. History, except that it was even easier. The thing that reminded me of the good ol' days of high school, though, was the format. Sixteen multiple-choice, two short-answer. Just like every high school class used to make 'em.

And like I said, these weren't even the really hard kind. They were the "Pick the statement that is TRUE" kind. This, of course, included the option "All of the above," but really, what else could you expect? There's always an all-of-the-above. Or a none-of-the-above, for that matter. Sometimes those can be even worse.

I've heard it said that multiple-choice isn't rigorous enough to test for breadth and depth of knowledge. I don't really have anything to say to that. It's probably true. I'm not doing the best of my critical thinking when all I have to do is circle A, B, C, D, or E.

But wouldn't it be nice if life were just filled with multiple-choice?

What, you say? Life is already multiple-choice? Not true, my friend! The defining feature of multiple-choice is that the choices are finite, and let me tell you, my choices in any aspect of life are never finite.

Think of the possibilities!

It takes me sometimes over 20 minutes to get dressed in the mornings. It's ridiculous. I stand at the door of my closet and run through outfits in my head. Even if I only had 10 different shirts and 10 different pants/skirts/what-have-you, I'd have 100 different possible outfits I could put on in a single day. And believe me, I have way more than 10 different tops and bottoms.

I live the sad life of the poor decision-maker. Not in that I make poor decisions, just that I take a long time to make them, regardless of their moral value. I would much rather let someone else decide things for me. In those not-uncommon moments where I tire of dressing myself on my own, I defer to the arbitrary but efficient decision-making power of my boyfriend:

"Red sweater or yellow?"

"Skirt or jeans?"
"Skirt. No - jeans."

"This one? Or this one?"
"That one."

Really, he could care less about how it looks (and this I know to be true. He dresses himself in the same thing. Every day. He also wears sweaters under his zip-up hoodie); most times, he doesn't even bother to look. The nice thing is that I get handed a decision, and I cut my morning getting-dressed ritual down to five minutes or less.

Even more powerful than that, though: what if I could reduce my career options to a multiple-choice? It would be the end of so much educational and emotional strife! There are just so many choices - all I want is to presented a platter of four or five. If I could somehow take a test to determine what I would be best for me, I could skip all the time and effort wasted on "career exploration" and shadowing. It's all part of the process, I'm told, but damn what an inefficient process it is. Wouldn't it be great if someone could just tell you up front, "You would hate this job because of the long hours and low pay," or "You would love this job because it sucks up your life, which is great for you since you don't want anything but professional success." Wouldn't that be amazing.

This is poorly formulated, but really, I think all I'm trying to say is I want some simplicity. Some refreshing simplicity. None of this process of discovery that jerks you around as you try to find something that works for you. I'll have to re-write this post sometime. It is a sketchy blob of thought that hasn't yet matured into a coherent idea. For some other time, friends. I'm just trying to keep up with my challenge.

Boyfriend tells me these 30-day challenges breed bitterness and stifle inspiration and enthusiasm. I dunno. I'm liking it so far. =)

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