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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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
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If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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5 Important Skills Your First Midterm Season At College Will Teach You

It is so easy to fall behind in college.

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At my high school, teachers were not allowed to give midterms or finals because it was "too stressful" on the students. Although it was nice while we were in high school, now that I am in college I wish that I did have to take midterms or finals because now when I am taking midterms I am still learning how to study for them. This semester is the first time I have ever had to take midterms so I wanted to share five things I have learned this midterm season.

1. Staying on top of things

It is so easy to fall behind in college. Learning from this first midterm experience, I know now that after each lecture is over I should just do the assigned reading and all the notes as we cover each topic rather than saving them for the week before the midterm. You can always reread the textbook the week before midterm but reading the textbook as the lectures occur help engrain the content in your brain.

2. Writing everything out

I found it very helpful to write out when each exam was and all the topics that would be on the exam. This helped me make a study plan more easily.

3. Knowing people in your class

When I first came to college, I didn't go out of my way to talk to people in my lectures. However, this exam season I learned it is very nice to have the contact information of some people in all lectures because while studying if you ever run into a problem it is easier to first ask your peers than to wait for office hours.

4. Going to office hours

Although you can ask your peers and google answers to conceptual questions, I also wish I went to office hours more. Sometimes during office hours, the professor will give you more information about what may be on the exam and other times it is nice to go because listening to other people's questions may also help you understand your content better.

5. How to study

Before coming to college I read at so many places that high school methods won't work in college. I never believed it until now. In high school, everyone just used to memorize everything before the test. However, in college, you actually have to know the material and know how to apply it.

Hope these are helpful, good luck!

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