Sick of Being Smart
(Note: This is a longer post, pretty much entirely filled with ranting. If you don't want to read something incredibly long, then I'm fine if you click away.)
My teacher showed up late to Spanish class today. In the ten minutes we waited for the classroom doors to unlock, half the class gets the idea that "Hey. Why don't we let Wallflower teach the class today? We'd probably learn more."
Later, during English class, we had to discuss the answers on our grammar sheets. The teacher turned us loose, and as soon as that happened all but two people said something along the lines of "Wallflower should lead. She can explain everything." And the one person other than myself who didn't want me to immediately take over the class was a student who had just moved into our high school.
It dawned on me today that I am sick of being the "smart kid."
Don't get me wrong--there is nothing I wish to change about myself. But this constant reminder that people see you as the only source of knowledge in your whole year just becomes a pain.
As a kid, you sort of establish where you are as far as learning goes. That's why many schools have an honors system--to create a more specialized learning environment. But even the honors kids have their own spectrum, which ranges from "I've barely made it, but I made it" to "Little Miss Perfect."
A majority of the students in my year don't talk to me in the first place unless they need something--explanations, answers, the works. I am every bit as human as the next guy, and that means I have feelings too. People skim over that fact faster than the readings they forgot to do as homework. It bothers me that when a friend texts me I receive questions about homework instead of "Hey. Can we hang out?"
What bothers me the most is that people hardly look past the surface--figuratively and literally. I'm not sure how many of you people out there can relate to this particular point, but people almost always seem to draw attention to the fact that I am Asian. It's as if my race directly affects my mental ability to some people, and I hate that.
That's not a point that'll apply to everyone, so here's this. It's not like I'm at some level of unattainable genius. There are millions of people who are smarter now than I ever will be. I need help sometimes. I need more help than I'd like to admit. But unless I'm online asking total strangers, there is only one person who won't judge me if I need him to check my answers. Even this is slightly embarrassing--it's like I've been trained to think that asking questions is taboo because I'm supposed to know everything.
I've found that there's so much pressure if you're the smartest kid in the room. People tend to point out every mistake you make. Once again, people forget we're human. Even though we learn like robots, we have blood flowing in our veins.
(This is my last point. I promise.) People need other people, and it doesn't help when you're filed away into a different category just because of how you learn. It may be great to know things, but it really does get lonely. Being smart isn't everything.
I'm sure people would've stopped reading by now. If you reached this point, I'm sorry I made it so long but congratulate you for making it this far. I also apologize that it was all over the place; my goal was just to finish.
I hope some "smart kids" out there read this. I hope just about everyone reads this. Maybe you deal with this stuff. Maybe you don't. This is just something I've needed to get off my chest for a long time. (Seriously--this has been a draft since maybe October of last year.) Hopefully my next post is something a bit lighter, considering this and my last one were frustrated rants.
Originally published on January 12, 2014.