Being Labeled As 'Gifted' Has Ruined My Life

Being Labeled As 'Gifted' Has Ruined My Life

Why was I seen as special compared to some of my friends? Why were they not getting access to the same resources as me?

There is not a feeling in the world worse than feeling like you’re not good enough.

Every day of my life, I feel like I am not good enough.

I was first labeled “gifted” when I was 3 years old. Since then, nobody has treated me like a normal person.

People act like being labeled as gifted makes you some sort of Albert Einstein-level genius.

But the truth is, I’m just a normal, average girl.

When I was in first grade, my school placed me in an accelerated program. I was taken out of my regular class every day for an hour to be placed with children that were “more my speed."

We did extra reading and deep-thinking skills. I developed the reading level of a fifth grader at 6 years old.

But why wasn’t I learning those things in my normal class?

Why was I considered special compared to some of my friends? Why were they not getting access to the same resources as me?

I was placed in yet another accelerated program in third grade. I was invited to join a magnet program at a different elementary school. I was forced to leave my friends behind to go to a “better” program.

Of course, I made new friends. Friends that were just as intelligent as I was or maybe even more intelligent.

That’s when I first learned what self-doubt was.

I was no longer the smartest kid in the class.

I was once again average.

Middle school came along, and I went to another school with a different magnet program. This one was more focused on language and literature while my old program was based on science, math and technology.

All of a sudden, I was considered dumb. I went from getting straight A’s to somehow getting B's. I was taking high school-level classes at the age of 11.

I was too smart for my own good.

Suddenly, I was getting stressed out over adult problems. I lost my rose-colored glasses and was hit in the face with the stone-cold hand of reality.

I had all of my peers telling me I was an idiot and my parents telling me I was a genius. These mixed messages got to my head and left me anxious and depressed.

I continued onto an international program for high school. I started taking college-level courses at the age of 14. I went from all A’s and B’s to a few C’s.

I officially lost any feelings of self-worth that I had left.

Over the years, I have been able to build that self-worth back up, but I still have so many questions.

Why was I chosen over some of my friends to be placed in magnet programs?

Why do students in magnet programs get access to better teachers and better materials? How is that fair?

Why wasn’t I allowed to have the life of a normal child and a normal high schooler? Why was I forced to pull all-nighters starting as a sixth grader?

Students in magnet programs aren’t better than anybody else, but so many of them think they are. They look down upon less fortunate students that didn’t have the opportunity to join special programs at 8 years old.

I got the opportunity to join these programs because my parents were extremely involved in my upbringing. Some children are not as fortunate and have parents that either don’t care or don’t have the time to dedicate.

These children don’t get the opportunity when they’re younger, and therefore, aren’t offered the opportunity when they’re older.

The educational system is extremely messed up. Students in higher socioeconomic classes get better opportunities.

What happened to equality?

We need to allow all students equal opportunities for stronger education. We need to start young.

We need to save future generations from academic discrimination.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Mazzola

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Five Tips to Get on Top of Your 2019: Tech Editions

Yeah, there's an app for that.


Technology is the course of the future, why not use it to get on top of your new year? Make 2019 the year you stop sleeping on these great productivity apps and get grinding! Best part, all the apps I've included here are free.

Google Calendar.

Look at that beauty.

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Google Doc File Folders


Sick of that long list of documents in your Google Docs? You can make file folders to organize all of your docs!

Momentum Chrome Extension

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This is a to-do list on steroids- definitely worth checking out!


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