My Intelligence Means I'm Gifted, Not 'Outdated'

My Intelligence Means I'm Gifted, Not 'Outdated'

Honors courses are one of the biggest blessings of my life; please don't tell me to get over them.
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I recently came across an article about honors classes that infuriated me. The author discusses how it can be harmful to place students in accelerated or honors classes at a young age. While there is some evidence that advanced classes can be harmful to very young students (meaning 1st or 2nd-grade students), honors classes are actually the best thing for many students.

I'll use myself as an example. From the moment I was born, my parents knew I was going to be exceptionally intelligent. Instead of crying when I was born, I simply just looked around the room to take the world in. My innate intelligence proved to be real when I had to be in my own reading group in kindergarten because I was reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level unlike the rest of my class.

I have struggled a lot socially and still do. As a child, I got upset very easily and had behavioral issues. In 5th grade, my teacher noticed that I was acting out in class and believed my actions to be indicative of something other than a behavior disorder. She encouraged my parents to get me formally tested, and sure enough, my IQ proved that I was a gifted student who was likely frustratedly bored in the classroom and likely had a hard time relating to peers.

Thanks to this test, I got to take 7th grade English classes along with one other highly gifted student as a 6th grader because the school didn't know what else to do with us as they didn't have the appropriate tools to teach us at the time. While the other student ended up attending a high school for exceptionally intelligent students, I decided to stick it out at my public middle and high schools because of the activities I wanted to participate in. However, the school still didn't know what to do with me because I had finished all of the appropriate English classes offered. After many long meetings, I ended up taking some online courses and did some individual study during my 8th-grade year. The school ended up establishing an honors English program because of the other student and me, but neither of us was able to reap the full benefits of this program.

Even with all of the extra effort the dedicated administrators put into my education, I still never felt completely challenged. Sure, accelerated courses were a step up, but not as big of a step as I needed. Now that I'm in college, I have to think a little harder to get through my courses luckily (yes, that's a really good thing) and college honors courses are more about learning about real life than any other courses I've taken before. But let me make this clear: honors courses have been an absolute blessing in my life.

The article alerted me that not everyone understands that there is a difference between "smart" students and "gifted" students. According to the National Association for Gifted Students, "children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age." This means that not all students placed in advanced classes are necessarily gifted. They may just appear to be able to keep up with advanced education, but they don't exactly need these classes like a gifted student might. Dropping back into normal classes is something that can be done, I've seen it, so the ramifications appear to be less than those for a gifted student that does not receive the instruction they require.

I cannot even begin to explain what it's like to be in a classroom where the teacher is teaching at half the pace of what you need. It's a whole new level of boring that most people never have to experience. We're not bored because it's too hard; we're bored because it's too easy. Honors classes are the closest experiences I've had to an intellectual challenge in my whole life.

Additionally, honors classes are not designed for everyone to get As. Typically, those classes come with a weighted GPA or an honors signification on transcripts to make up for the fact that students are indeed taking harder classes. This makes it okay to get lower grades while still demonstrating intelligence. That student just might not gifted and that's okay.

Being gifted isn't a synonym for "doesn't have to study." I still to this day study for every single test I have. Sure, I can probably spend much less time studying and often don't see the point of it, but studying is necessary for all learners to retain any information. Everything doesn't come naturally for us, but gifted students really do just catch on to things quicker than their peers because, going back to the definition of giftedness, we have significantly higher abilities than our peers. Socially is a whole other story, but in the classroom, I can probably put in half the effort of other students and still pull out an A.

As far as college goes, anyone who has adults around them that have gone to college, be it parents or teachers, knows they have to work harder in college. You're going to hit your educational "wall" someday where everything is suddenly difficult. I'm getting to my "wall" but being gifted means I'm still a ways away from hitting it and can still half-ass everything and be fine. I take a long time to do my work though because I am chronic perfectionist and procrastinator and I sometimes try to make things harder than they are just to challenge myself. Most students never have to seek out a challenge just to stimulate their brains, but gifted students do.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying people have to have "natural intelligence" or whatever you want to call it to be successful or smart. Hard workers get just as much, if not more, out of life than gifted people. But for people who are "naturally" smart or, as I prefer to label myself, gifted, that success just comes easier.

Just like some things in life are about how athletic or physically fit you are, some things in life, namely in the classroom, are about how gifted you are and that's just the way it is.

(If you are interested in more information about gifted students check out https://www.nagc.org/myths-about-gifted-students.)
Cover Image Credit: Nora Maberry-Daniels, St. Joseph Leader

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50 Things to Do When You're Bored and Completely Alone

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For people like me, spring break is a time where you come home and have absolutely nothing to do. You're parents work all day and you're either sibling-less or your siblings have already moved out. Most of your friends are on the semester system, so your breaks don't line up. You're bored and completely alone.

Although while being alone sounds boring, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with yourself. There is a plethora of unique and creative things you can do. Netflix marathon? That's overdone. Doing something productive or worthwhile? You do enough of that in school anyway. Whatever the reason is for you being alone, I have assembled a list of unique things to do to cure your boredom.

SEE ALSO: 50 Things To Do Instead of Finishing Your Homework

  1. Have a solo dance party.
  2. Teach yourself how to do an Australian accent (or any accent for that matter).
  3. Learn how to play harmonica (or any instrument for that matter).
  4. Buy an at home workout DVD.
  5. Bake a cake (and eat the whole thing for yourself).
  6. Take a rollaway chair and ride it down the driveway.
  7. Paint a self-portrait.
  8. Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  9. Become a master at air-guitar.
  10. Perform a concert (just for yourself).
  11. Write a novel.
  12. Become an expert on quantum mechanics.
  13. Give yourself a new hairdo.
  14. Knit a sweater (if you don't know how, learn).
  15. Make a bunch of origami paper cranes and decorate your house with them.
  16. Make homemade popsicles.
  17. Reorganize your entire closet.
  18. Put together a funky new outfit.
  19. Make a short film.
  20. Try to hold a handstand for as long as possible.
  21. Memorize the lyrics to all of your favorite songs.
  22. Create a website.
  23. Go on Club Penguin and troll a bunch of children.
  24. Become your favorite fictional character.
  25. Become your favorite animal.
  26. Practice your autograph for when you become famous.
  27. Create a magical potion.
  28. Learn a few spells.
  29. Learn how to become a Jedi.
  30. Put the TV on mute and overdub it with your own voice.
  31. Make paper hats with old newspapers.
  32. Become a master at jump roping tricks.
  33. Create music playlists based on random things, like colors.
  34. Find a chunk of wood and carve something out of it.
  35. Find something that doesn't have a Wikipedia page and create one for it.
  36. Create a full course meal based on whatever's in your kitchen.
  37. Teach your pet a new trick.
  38. Take a bunch of artsy photographs.
  39. Make a scrapbook.
  40. Learn a bunch of new words and incorporate them into your speech.
  41. Try to draw the most perfect circle without using a compass.
  42. Make your own board game.
  43. Memorize some poetry well enough so you can recite it.
  44. Build a fleet of sailboats and float them in your bathtub/pool.
  45. Write a song.
  46. Practice picking locks.
  47. Make a drum kit out of random household items and play it.
  48. Draw a tattoo on yourself.
  49. Give yourself a new piercing.
  50. Figure out the meaning of life.
Cover Image Credit: Josh

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy
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Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.

Cassidy
Cassidy

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