Decisions at 18

Paula sat on her desk looking at the forms. Carlos, the History teacher, had given out auto-help forms that were supposed to “tell” the pupils what university course best suited their personalities and capabilities. The test assumed things like, in order to do social work, it was required a lesser intellectual capacity than to be an economist.
Paula was not too sure about this assumption, and she was even less sure about her own personal results. The test told her she had enough capacity to be an economist, but not enough to be a doctor, certainly more than enough to be a social worker. It encouraged her, however, to pursue a career as a social worker, as she had shown so much compassion and care for others.
Paula was certain of just one thing, and she hadn’t needed the test to find out. She agreed with most of her classmates that 17 is far too young an age to make a decision that will mark the rest of your life.
Carlos, the History teacher, looked at her. The whole class was drawn in group conversations, every one seemed to be talking at the same time.
Some students were outraged at the results, some where excited. Paula just sat there looking at the forms in silence.
“Can’t make up your mind?”
“I wanted to study Journalism. It hasn’t even turned up as a possibility.”
“Well, this is only a test that is supposed to help you. At the end, it is your decision.”
Paula made a face that expressed “What you have just said doesn’t help me much”.
“Have you seen the videos about careers?” It was a rhetorical question.
“What videos?” Carlos, the History teacher, was kind of used to pupils not listening to his explanations, so he ignored the question and handed one of the videos to Paula.
“Here, a video about Journalism. It has journalists talking about their work. It may help.”

Paula said thanks to the teacher, but this posed yet another challenge. Her parents had refused to acquire a video player and they were not going to buy one just so that she could watch this video.
Of course in those times, there were not video players available to students at school. She hoped to watch it at her boyfriend’s.

On her way home, Paula decided to disregard the tests and make her decision based on whatever the video would tell her her about journalism, whatever facts she could find about economics and social work, and whatever her boyfriend would say.