|Photo By: A.J. Sanchez|
I never had a hard time in high school with my academics.
I didn’t try and always made As & Bs. (Unless it was math – then I had to try really hard)
I felt smart…. sort of. I went to a really competitive high school and everyone in the top 10% (which was 7 people) fought neck and neck for those spots and revolved their lives around their sport and school.
I was more interested in dancing and dreaming but that was okay, cause like I said, I made it by pretty well.
Until I took the SAT… and the ACT …. and made average to below average scores.
I thought I did well on them and was crushed to get those numbers back.
Does this mean I’m actually stupid?
I applied to 20 schools and got into all of them except one who I was waitlisted for and then never heard back from.
I got into my top choice, Southwestern Universtiy, which was (and I think still is) considered an “Ivy League” of the south with a fat 4-year scholarship.
I also got placed into the “special help” program at like my 7th choice school, UTSA, because they thought I wasn’t going to do well/wasn’t smart enough to be in the regular undergrad program.
Anyway, I have always been confused about my intelligence. I never knew if I was “smart” or not. My first year at SU I felt dumb as a rock. I was seated among a lot of 10% of the class students who knew how to study and could spend hours upon hours read flash cards and writing papers and reading boring-ass confusing articles for class.
Whereas I learned how to cut the workload by skimming articles and relying on my creativity and writing skills to save my ass. And 99.9% of the time, it worked. (Unless it was biology which I made a D is because no matter how hard I studied, my answer was never “specific enough”) And ended up how I picked my major. Communication is the art of bullshitting and you have to write A LOT.
Okay long story short, I’ve realized over the years how much I do NOT care about grades. And I was okay with that. I separated myself from the competitive students that were constantly making me feel stupid and worked on developing my talents and being a part of the real world. I did okay for a while.
THEN YESTERDAY HAPPENED
Capstone. is. killing. me.
We had a visitor come into our capstone class on the day I presented my project to the class (we are at a halfway point and have done quite a bit of research and writing so we used this opportunity to get feedback and suggestions from our peers)
She talked to us about this post grad exam you could take to show off your problem-solving skills. “It’s like the SAT or ACT but for jobs instead. It looks really good on your resume”. I was interested at first but the more she talked about it the more I realized I would not do well on that type of test because tests like that don’t measure empathy, or intuition, or compassion or FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN TRUTHS THAT I BASE ALL OF MY DECISIONS OFF OF.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I tried to compose myself. I gave my presentation and felt totally lost and stupid compared to the other presentations that day because all I could think about was “you’re not smart enough.”
After class I walked to my car and cried.
It was terrifying to think that the world I’ve been trying to escape to – the world that I thought would be accepting of my different way of thinking, is actually favoring this dried out way of measuring skills.
I have been in a position before where I’ve had to read over resumes and select people for leadership positions and sometimes people who look great on paper MAKE TERRIBLE LEADERS or TEAM MEMBERS or EMPLOYEES. People who look great on paper can have really negative attitudes or be rude or racist or sexist, or just plain assholes that don’t give a shit about whether the rest of the company suffers for a mistake they’ve made. A resume will not show you how much that person CARES about your business or her JOB.
I just felt frustrated and thought of that quote by Albert Einstien that says “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll go the rest of its life believe it’s stupid.” This whole do-it-for-the-resume / look-at-my-test-scores thing is not me. It’s not human at all.
I feel like a fish constantly here. That’s why I hate it. I know I’m not stupid, but I don’t have water around to prove them otherwise.