Go Beyond Gifted (Gifted isn't Good?)

Go Beyond Gifted (Gifted isn't Good?)

What being "Gifted" does for us
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Having been a student in a gifted program during middle school, I have been thinking about up how the program may have helped me, but also harmed me.

The positive thing about gifted programs is that they allow students who are not challenged by the regular curriculum to receive that challenging education. Students that are not able to thrive and grow with the general education system they are being placed under because it is too easy for them, are given the chance to receive that same kind of intellectual challenge and growth through these gifted programs. This is undeniably a positive thing, as I am sure everyone would agree.

However, does giving kids the title "gifted" actually help them, or are we stunting their intellectual growth and confidence by inflating it? These titles tend to give students a difficult idea of themselves. A sense of preexisting intelligence is given to them. I know, from my own experience, that having this "gifted" title makes students feel like they should be able to get good grades and do well without having to try very hard in regular courses. We become so used to breezing through things, that when something is truly challenging for us we feel dumb for not being able to do it. There comes a sort of stigma that if you are really gifted or if you are really a genius you should not have to work that hard or study that hard for anything. This thought process is especially common in high school. Anytime there is a test, you hear those intelligent students "who don't even have to try to get good grades" proclaiming how little time they spent studying for it (whether it is true or not). You can't make it seem like you spent a lot of time on it, or they might think you are dumb and that you have to actually work for your good grades. There should be no stigma against hard work. Achieving after putting in a great deal of effort to do so, should be the greatest feeling. There should be no negative stigma around trying and really wanting to learn things. Sure, in high school -and even in college at times- some things are going to be easy and not require effort, but other times you are going to need to take that extra time to study, or go over your exam one last time to double check your answers (finishing your exam before everyone else still doesn't make you the smartest), or read over your essay a few times to check for mistakes, and that doesn't in any way make you dumb.

Be proud of the work you do. Go above an beyond. Don't settle for "gifted". Because even if you have been smart from birth, intelligence is malleable and you can learn more if you try and aren't afraid to look dumb. You don't have to be all-knowing to be intelligent. Whether you're "gifted" or not, it is all about the effort. Go beyond gifted.

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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After Meeting With My Academic Adviser, I Feel Like Even More Of A Failure

Let me just tell you, I didn't come out of my advising meeting feeling like I had a hopeful future.

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Let me paint the picture for you — I'm sure so many of my fellow peers can see in their heads: my adviser is typing down all the possible classes I could sign up for the fall semester, while I sit to the left of him to look at the screen. He starts telling me that everything is up in the air in terms of completing my degree. As I held my tears back, I wondered why am I such a failure?

Every college student has been in the scenario, so I am far from the norm. We all have sat down with an adviser just to listen them inform us that everything we have been doing wrong for the whole semester. Advisers speak in that unsure tone when you discuss with them which classes they could possibly take — it's gut-wrenching. You just want to bawl your eyes out because you have been under a high level of stress for trying to be the "best student" you can possibly be. The situation frustrates you to the point that you want to scream at your adviser. All you want is for someone to give you hope for the future, not another person who will tear you down and strip you of the last pieces of dignity that you have.

In my case, hearing the words, "It might take you three more years to graduate," was a bullet straight to my heart.

So many questions ran through my mind. Am I even smart enough to continue pursuing a degree? If I do, will I be successful after I graduate?

Of course, there was so much more to the meeting. But, hearing someone tell you that you will not graduate on time is the epitome of feeling like a failure. I know I will no longer be conforming to the "four-year model" of a regular college student. Aside from feeling as if I've failed myself, the situation has also caused me to distance myself from my parents because I worry that I will let the unfortunate new slip out — I'm sure they will come across this article.

With all of this in mind, it has been very hard to not want to just drop everything and stay in bed all day. Nothing would be more comforting than to just lay in bed all day and forget about the stresses of college. Luckily, meeting with another adviser — someone who knew what she was talking about — helped me set a solid plan in motion, giving me some hope that I will graduate within a reasonable time frame.

Fingers crossed!

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