Monday, May 19, 2014

They should put a common sense section on the SAT.

I've mentioned before that I work at a college. Our students are, hypothetically, smart enough to have passed the SAT or ACT. Sadly, that doesn't mean that every student who manages to make it to college comes to campus with at least some common sense rattling around between their ears.

Today I worked at the front counter. I have a container full of pens for students to use and (usually never) bring back. These are pens with the office logo on them. They are all identical.

This morning, a student grabbed a pen, took his paperwork into the lobby and then came back to me. He said, "this pen doesn't work." I held my hand out for him to give the pen to me to throw away, but he put it back in the pen container. I said, "WAIT! Which pen was it so I can toss it?" He said, completely seriously with no hint of sarcasm, "the red one."

Silly me, it was the red one.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that if students were required to take a high school class on common sense, and  were tested on common sense after high school the same way they are tested on math, reading, and writing (we could call it the IHECSTNDMTDT - aka the I Have Enough Common Sense To Not Darwin Myself To Death Test), and were required to have passed the IHECSTNDMTDT  to get into college, I would have had nothing to blog about today.


  1. And they will be taking care of us some day. Damn.

    1. Goodness, that's depressing. That one specifically will probably be a politician.

  2. Common sense isn't all that common, unfortunately.

  3. It's worse than you think. I've found that most PhD-level scientists do this too, usually with dry-erase markers, but sometimes with vital reagents.

    "My experiment didn't work. I think I got a bad tube of taq."
    "I can check it. Where is it?"
    "In the PCR box."
    "You mean with the other twenty, totally identical tubes of taq?"
    "Yeah. And why do none of these dry erase markers work?"