Smart, In Degrees
For as long as I can remember, there has been a part of me that felt like I had above average intelligence. After moving to sunny Southern California I came face to face with the fact I was not pretty, therefore my being smart was something I held onto for dear life.
It gave me credibility, it gave me a reason to be proud. After all looks could fade but no one could take what you had inside your head away from you. I had a whirlwind affair with school. Subject came easy to me and I would do well with little or no effort. As time went on I became increasingly lazy, but I still got good grades. Junior High(middle school) brought about a series of changes and awakenings. Enter puberty, what a let down school was. Other girls now were interested in boys and vice versa, while I may have been interested in boys they were not interested in me. Well at least I was still smart.
I tested well and had above average classes, but then I discovered there was something beyond having above average classes.. there was the “gifted program”.
The “gifted program” probably meant nothing to other students who were not in it because they had other things on their minds. The students that belonged in it were recognized and put into the program. Yet, I belonged to a very small quiet group; someone who wanted to be in the program, and someone who was certain they should be in the program. Remember, my “sets-me-apart” reasoning was at stake here. I had “friends” who were in these special classes and “I” felt like they were no smarter than me. I made the inquiries and managed to get information necessary in order for me to be tested for the program. Turns out I was NOT gifted, I was above average which allowed me to take certain classes but to be a part of this program that I thought was so elite… I did not make the cut. I was quietly devastated. For a couple of years I tried to stand apart and be noticed, then I came to terms with.. above average with the AVERAGE glaring at me.
Fast forward, I received my acceptance letter from U.C. Irvine and after the excitement came the fear. How would I fare in a foreign environment. Was I ready for this culture shock? Could I handle it because after all I was, just above average. I took the “chicken” way out and enrolled in community college because I thought it would be easier for me to do well and after a year or so I could transfer. That did not happen. I went back a couple of times, but something was missing.
I realized that the only thing average about me was that I did not put any extra effort into achieving what I said I wanted to achieve, and I truly had made myself the very thing I did not want to be AVERAGE-the norm. I abandoned the very vehicle that could have catapulted me to where I felt I wanted to be, my drive. I did not need a piece of paper to tell me that either. I said I wanted this validation, but when it came right down to it perhaps I did not want it enough or even as much as I thought I did.
I am surrounded by people who collectively possess an array of certificates, degrees, and doctorates. They are my family, they are my friends, and no simple formula can explain me. My predecessors, contemporaries and heirs have somehow done what has eluded me. Perhaps one would be surprised to hear, I still believe I am smart. I now know I am not dedicated. I now know that paperwork does not positively elevate you to a place deserving of admiration and awe. I now know my motivation was what was lacking and no on had more control over that than me.
Therefore, take heed in what I finally learned. Realize my friends you have a choice and do not allow yourself to be the victim or recipient of self inflicted failure.