Not a Test

I am not a test.
But if I were,
these are the questions
I’d be asking:

Why are we being made to suffer
(as opposed to sacrifice)
in order to become

Why do we put so much emphasis
on a test like this,
when we know it impacts
our health?

Why do we continue
to use standardized testing
when we know it was crafted
for a certain crop of people?

Why aren’t we asking
these questions
of our profession?

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

She had been studying for board exams and was experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and adverse impacts on her health. This had caused her to contemplate medicine and standardized test-taking, who does well and why, what it means to be a good test-taker, and how people can be impacted for many years to come. She wasn’t where she wanted to be yet in her preparations, and was trying to remain both faithful and realistic. She had already overcome challenges much greater than this in her life, and she knew there was hope on the others side. “In the grand scheme of life, should I be stressing over this or thanking God for all the other things that are going well?” she said. I got a sense the questions she was holding had been with her for a while: “I don’t have a problem making sacrifices. But is this suffering really making us better?” she asked.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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