When “smart” takes on a whole different meaning

When kids are growing up, they’re told that they’re smart. Being one of the kids in the “above average” classes for all of my K-12 years, I can attest to hearing this statement a lot. I always knew I was smart, at least in some aspect, because I was always told so and my grades reflected it. Well, then I got to college, where “smart” takes on a whole new meaning. I was no longer the “smart” I had come to know. Yes, I majored in science, which is something most people can’t handle. But after my first semester of college, I realized that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought I was. It turns out that I’m really just average. Now, people have told me “Oh you’re not average! You majored in biology for goodness sakes! I couldn’t do that!” Okay, well yeah, I did major in biology, but that just means I like biology and am really good at memorizing loads of information and spitting it back out on exams. You may not be able to do that, but there are tons of people out there that do it way better than I do. I wouldn’t say that I’m dumb, but I graduated with an average GPA, and while I worked in a lab, I didn’t have any internships or fancy summer research programs on my resume. I was average. That’s all there is to it and there’s nothing I can do to go back and change it. Since I’m only an average biology graduate, I can’t find work in a lab because there are so few jobs for so many qualified people, people more qualified than me. While I love my coworkers at Old Navy, to be frank, I didn’t go to college to work in retail (though I really appreciate those who work in retail as their career). 

(Side note: Since I’ve always been focused on academics, I’ve never put effort into a love life. Well, now that I’m out of school and working a job that I didn’t get a degree for, my lack of love life has become a bit more glaring. I’m not saying that I need a man to survive, but it would be nice to have one so I don’t feel like I’m completely lacking in every aspect of my life…)

I guess my point (because I’m really trying to avoid complaining so much on this blog) is that telling kids they’re smart when they’re growing up can kind of backlash later in life. There are a lot of people my age, myself included, that feel so much worse about themselves now because when they were growing up they were told they were smart, but now they just realize that they’re average and don’t really know what to do about it. I don’t think we should stop telling kids they’re smart, but I also don’t know a way to fix the problem. I guess it’s just part of being an average human being…