Judge Geri

We had 1,657 graduates in my high school class. I was ranked #110 academically, which put me in the top 6 percent of the class. (I remember this ridiculous fact because my dad was obsessed with how well I did in school, so I became obsessed.) I also was an editor of the yearbook. I played the harp. I created a Spanish newspaper. All-around gal.

But I didn’t get accepted to my first or second choice colleges, Brandeis and Rochester, because I didn’t do especially well on my SATS (I got 1,100). Tests scared the living daylights out of me. Big tests. Little tests. Surprise quizzes (the thought of them.) I thought I’d have a nervous breakdown before I took every Regents exam (required three-hour standardized tests in New York State.)  It’s a wonder the SATs didn’t throw me over the edge.

Anyway, I went to Syracuse University and hated it.  Lost 35 pounds in eight weeks, missed home something fierce, cried all day long, got Ds, had a real mini breakdown. Left after one semester and never looked back. It all turned out okay, but I sometimes think how one stupid test weighed so heavily on which college accepted me.

Being judged can be trying.  And being a judge of others has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. What exactly makes us decide which person we want to hire for a job opening?  Who we’ll date?  Whether we’ll accept someone’s idea? Who we’ll choose to perform a critical operation? I know it’s my duty, but I would not want to sit on a jury to decide whether to convict someone.

We often have to make judgments based on limited knowledge.  On the other hand, all the research in the world often can’t substitute for gut feelings and personal recommendations. I try to judge others as I would have them judge me.  With compassion and understanding.  It is not always easy and I don’t always do it well. It is, however, essential.

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