What It's Like To Learn You're Not The Smart Kid Anymore

What It's Like To Learn You're Not The Smart Kid Anymore

I was content to stay in my bubble where I was successful without ever having to work for it, but that bubble popped when I got to college.
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I used to be the smart kid. By no means was I the best of the pack, vying for first place in grades and extracurriculars, but I was definitely above average, scoring easy A's in honor classes that soon evolved to AP and dual enrollment and being praised by teachers for my quick wit and verbatim memory. This only held true in some subjects, specifically anything to do with English and literature, and my heightened proficiency gave me an edge throughout my 13 years of primary and secondary schooling — all without trying.

Sure, I studied, as in read the text once and just paid attention in class. And sure, I did homework, in between classes and lunch so I rarely had to do any at home. And yes, I would stay up late to do two-week projects within a 24-hour time limit and still impressed the teachers with how polished my work was.

But I never exerted any extra effort to do anything that didn't interest me and was relatively easy to do. I never tasted failure because I had never put myself in a position where I could fail. I passed up contests and competitions that would have challenged my intellect. I skipped out on extracurriculars and after-school meets. I never stepped out of my comfort zone of schoolwork and classroom praise, content to stay in my bubble where I was successful without ever having to work for it.

That bubble popped when I got to college.

I learned the hard way that whatever talents and skills you may have, none of it can compare to consistent effort. If you don't hone your talents, they will eventually wither away whereas perseverance and gradual improvement is what truly lasts.

I could not longer sit in class and recall everything perfectly the next day without taking a single note, because now the classes were spaced days apart, and it was up to me to study in between those hours. There were no in-class worksheets to practice a new concept — rather, it was expected we would do it all at home and simply turn it in. If I wanted to ask the professor a question, I couldn't swing by on my way to another class; I'd have to shoot an email, schedule an appointment or make time to visit during office hours.

What used to be one chapter studied over a period of three to four days in high school soon became four textbook chapters per college class — all read on my own time, totaling to an average of over 500 pages read in a single week. Then there were the dreaded group projects, papers due next week without a single deadline reminder in between, online homework and "suggested" book problems and comprehensive tests with hand-picked questions about every single detail as though you were majoring in the class rather than just taking it as a requirement.

All this work in classes with professors who the earned the five-star rating on RateMyProfessor and then some (meaning, chilli peppers — more lies).

Some professors were easier than others, but every single one pushed for excellence in their subject, and not many cared if students had a calculus II exam and sociology paper due the same day as their class test, because we were all adults and expected to be on top of things.

I was not on top of things.

I struggled to catch up, fraught with nerves and terrible study habits that prioritized indulgence over self-control. I was used to kicking back the day before tests, not frantically re-reading the text to see if there's anything I missed from the third time I read it. I couldn't handle the sheer pressure of being expected to earn high marks at every single exam that came and went in a consecutive collision. And when I thought of taking a semester or two off, the regretful tales of fellow students who had done the same and simply ended up wasting their time kept me chained to my desk.

College wasn't just a life-changer in the way those whimsical sorority articles had made me think. It was consuming my life. I had little to no social life, and my entertainment options were restricted to a couple YouTube videos a day to get by. This was because I wasn't the average hardworking student. I was the privileged above average who thought she could get through college like she got through her high school classes with the help of teachers drilling the material into her head for eight hours a day, five days a week.

This realization was a blow to my ego. I had never been "smart." I had just been lucky.

I was lucky that I went to a high school where my teachers pushed me in class and gave me room to grow and master skills I would not have even attempted on my own otherwise. I was lucky that my parents diligently made me attend class every single day and checked my grades on a regular basis. I was lucky to experience all those opportunities without ever having to step outside my bubble.

Instead of understanding how easy and comfortable life had been made for me by others, I had credited the success to myself, even though I didn't do anything to deserve it. And now that I'm finishing up my second year of college, I realize that more keenly than ever now that the advantages are gone.

If high school is a series of stepping stones to young adulthood, college is a bungee jump into the real world. It's up to you to make the most of your experience — to control yourself when it's time to study and know when to kick back and relax, to schedule out time for your friends, family and strangers in between class hours, homework time and extracurriculars, to truly embrace the visceral, volatile, voracious life of a college student.

Only then will you succeed, having stood up on your own two feet, scrabbling your way to the top, triumphant in becoming more than just "lucky."

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19 Things About Being a Nursing Major As Told By Michael Scott

Michael just gets it.
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If you're a nursing major, you relate to the following 19 things all too well. Between your clinical encounters and constant studying, you can't help but wonder if anyone else outside of your major understands the daily struggles you face in nursing school. And even though being the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc. isn't the same as being a nursing major, Michael Scott does a pretty accurate job of describing what it's like.

1. When your professor overloads your brain with information on the first day of class.

2. Realizing that all your time will now be spent studying in the library.

3. Being jealous of your friends with non-science majors, but then remembering that your job security/availability after graduation makes the stress a little more bearable.

4. Having to accept the harsh reality that your days of making A's on every assignment are now over.

5. When you're asked to share your answer and why you chose it with the whole class.

6. Forgetting one item in a "select all that apply" question, therefore losing all of its points.

7. When you're giving an IV for the first time and your patient jokingly asks, "This isn't your first time giving one of these, right?"

8. You're almost certain that your school's nursing board chose the ugliest scrubs they could find and said, "Let's make these mandatory."

9. Knowing that you have an important exam that you could (should) be studying for, but deciding to watch Netflix instead.

10. Getting to the first day of clinical after weeks of classroom practice.

11. When you become the ultimate mom-friend after learning about the effects various substances have on the human body.

12. Running off of 4-5 hours of sleep has become the new norm for you.

13. And getting just the recommended 7-8 hours makes you feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

14. You have a love-hate relationship with ATI.

15. When your study group says they're meeting on a Saturday.

16. Choosing an answer that's correct, but not the "most" correct, therefore it is wrong.

17. And even though the late nights and stress can feel overwhelming,

18. You wouldn't want any other major because you can't wait to save lives and take care of others.

19. And let's be honest...

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If You Really Want To Lessen The Divide Between Arts And Athletics, Funding Will Be Equalized

It's right in front of us and has been going unnoticed.

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No matter how old you are, you probably identify at least a little with either the arts or athletics. Growing up, most of us were either the 'cool' kids who typically played some type of sport or the not-so-cool kids that were interested in the arts. A simple question would be, why can't someone be both? Well, it's possible, but do the in-betweeners ever feel completely at home in one setting? This is an issue that tends to extend to college, and a point was brought up to me not long ago regarding the social gap between athletes and other students. In order to eradicate this issue, we must first understand where it stems from.

All in all, it seems to me that the divide begins in schools. Schools are the first places where children are beginning to be socialized, so the most impact tends to be made there. If schools are teaching children to look up to older high school athletes, as most do, it is almost certain that most children will aspire to be a part of that culture when they get to high school. Sure, some students will want to join the arts because they notice an affinity towards them, but some might still look the other way because of what they have been taught to admire.

Once in high school, perhaps even more impact is made. Students are discovering who they are and what their place in the world around them is. The way that their high school treats them means everything because that's typically their world for four long years.

From what I gather, the majority of high schools put athletes on a pedestal, letting them get away with more than others, as well as rewarding them more than others.

There are several problems with this, the first being that other students are placed in the background. Students who take part in the arts in school are often held to a typical standard, where they must follow all of the rules with little leniency and are not as recognized for their achievements as the athletes. However this does not only negatively affect students in the arts, but athletes as well. It might seem a little odd to claim that they are negatively affected while given all the privileges, but it is true to a certain extent.

For example, these athletes will not be adequately prepared for life after high school. After years of being told how wonderful they are and being exempt from average rules of behavior, these students are likely to graduate high school and be shocked at how they are expected to act and how people no longer hand them special privileges.

Both students involved in the arts and athletics are hurt here as well because they are all missing out on the crucial socialization of one group with another that may have different interests.

It is so important that these groups meet so that they are able to network with others who maybe aren't exactly like them. There is also always the possibility that students will find new interests that they did not even know they had by speaking to others outside of their groups.

This divide is also perpetuated by the tendency of school districts of all types to overfund athletics and underfund the arts. While the funding of the school may seem like a thing that wouldn't really affect the social lives of students, it creates a socioeconomic divide of sorts between groups. The arts tend to feel smaller and recognize the divide easily in funding since they face the hardships of it.

If funding was appropriately allocated between programs, this monetary divide could be quickly solved. Perhaps in the absence of the socioeconomic divide, tackling the more social aspect might be easier.

It is so important to address the situation early in elementary, middle, and high schools because it may carry on to university. At the university level, it may be easier to eradicate the divide since most students seem to be on the same page. However, it can still seem intimidating to approach someone of a social group that you have been conditioned to feel uncomfortable around. The divide is unfair for both parties, and the most a student can really do is to step out of their comfort zone and start a conversation with someone they don't know. It starts with the individual, so be kind to others and remember that there is growth in discomfort.

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