“Gifted” kids do not, in fact, have all the fun.

If an average student got a B, it was cause for celebration, but if I got an A I was simply meeting expectations.

This attitude really sticks in my craw. When my elementary classmates [who weren’t “gifted”] got A’s, their parents rewarded them; some got money, some got a special meal. I know, because they would brag about it the next day at school. When I got an A, my parents said, “Oh, good.” I merely met their expectations. “Checkmark, our kid is maintaining the expected average. Back to the news on the TV.” It made me feel that my grades didn’t matter, that I didn’t matter.

My parents often told me the standard line, “You don’t have to be the best, you just have to try your best.” Hah, what a joke. When “my best” wasn’t an A, The Inquisitionâ„¢ always happened. What did I do incorrect? Did I study the wrong material? Was I slacking? On and on and on.

In high school algebra I got my first B, and I cried for hours. Obviously, there was something wrong with me. There was no way it couldn’t be my fault; no matter that the teacher didn’t like me, nor that my previous maths didn’t prepare me. I had to be deficiant, somehow.

It was a revelation when I learned in college how “normal people” study. Just the minimum? How did they expect to pass anything? Then I tried it. Suddenly I had free time. I could read, or play on the computer, or anything. Since I always took copious notes in lecture, I had my studying already done.

It’s ridiculous, my grad program is entirely online, and I’ve never studied less in my life. I can read, hang out with friends, go dancing, and spend hours online if I so desire.

“Gifted” kids reading this: I implore you, don’t study more, study smarter. Find a studying method that works for you but also lets you live, and don’t take shit from anyone. Younger me was miserable. Don’t be younger me. Please. Be someone that future you won’t pity.

Parents of “gifted” kids reading this: ease up on the whip. Thanks.

Profiles of the Future

Arthur C. Clarke was an incredible science fiction writer. He wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey. But he also published compendiums of his essays, and that’s where we get Clarke’s Three Laws from:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.