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?
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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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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11 Dorm Essentials You'll Also NEED For Your Apartment Checklist

10. Whiteboard

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The time has come for many college students to make their grand transition to a first apartment/house. However, thanks to a very tight budget, getting all those cool and new Pinterest-worthy decor is probably nearly impossible without breaking the bank. Who has the money for that when college loans are looming over every student's head? Here are 11 things you can totally take with you from your old dorm that will cross out some items on your apartment checklist:

1. Tapestry

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If you had a tapestry anywhere in your dorm, take it with you! Hang it above a bed, couch, or use it as a rug! Cut it up, braid it, Pinterest it, and you're good to go.

2. Broom

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Brooms aren't too expensive but why not save money where you can? Get some cute printed tape at a craft store and wrap it around the handle to make something that makes cleaning a little more fun.

3. Rubbermaid Containers

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What once held school supplies can now hold wrapping paper, extra clothes, cleaning supplies... The options are endless.

4. Wall Art

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If you have some you like, why not continue their legacy in your new space? Keep the color scheme going so you don't have to buy completely new stuff.

5. Shower Curtains

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Your shower is bound to be bigger than the one you had in your dorm (thank God). To make your new bathroom look a little fancier, get a second shower curtain of the same pattern and have them open in the middle.

6. Shelves

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Instead of using these for printers, books, etc, you can now put them up in your closet or bathroom and use them for shoes, towels, or whatever else.

7. Plants/Succulents

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Instead of getting rid of them, keep your green thumb, get some new pots, and use them as coffee table/end table decor! Not only are they cute, but bring in a little color and overall make things a little brighter.

8. Books and Bookends

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If you can't return or sell some of your old school books, consider keeping them and putting them in a bookshelf. They will make it look fuller, not to mention make you look more cultured. Then, keep your eyes peeled for some adorable bookends - cultured AND cute.

9. School Spirit Shirts

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If you never plan on wearing your college spirit shirts ever again but DON'T want to get rid of them (sentimental value - I get it), send them into Project Repat that turns them into a quilt. Now you'll have something to remember your old college days without them taking up a ton of space with clutter.

10. Whiteboard

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Don't ditch your whiteboard just yet! Instead of deadlines and assignments, use it to write down a shopping list, important phone numbers, or a new and inspiring quote every week.

11. Command Hooks

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The sacred item that every college student NEEDS to have. There are awesome ways to reuse your command hooks: holding keys, dishtowels, jewelry, and so much more! You can even paint them to make them pop.

As you can see, there are so many amazing ways to transform your college dorm essentials into adorable must-haves that will transfer over to your next big move. Consider your apartment checklist completed!

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