How To Survive When You're No Longer Talented And Gifted

How To Survive When You're No Longer Talented And Gifted

To all those who once were told when they were young that they were talented and gifted, but no longer feel that way.

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When I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember the day when I was told that I had tested out of my age group in different subjects and would be placed in what was commonly referred to as TAG classes. TAG stood for "Talented and Gifted." While that is all well and good, telling a seven-year-old that they are special is a double-edged sword. The first drawback is that it gives them an inflated sense of self and a superiority complex. Seven-year-olds who think they are the coolest thing since sliced bread? Not fun. The other side, however, is that it gives people something to be proud of and cling to when things get hard. It did all these things for me.

All through elementary school, I went to special classes with a group of kids as equally "special" like me. We were usually either really good readers, really good at math or a combination of both. I was in the reading group. When I took comprehension tests they said I could read at the level of a college student which, at the time, felt pretty cool. However, now that I am in college, it feels a little less impressive. College students are by no means great at reading. We suck but you do what you got to do when your professor assigns eighty pages a night.

College is a reality check for a lot of people for many reasons. There were the people who had never really left home before and became terribly homesick until they figured out how to manage their own schedules. Others began to experience more adult activities and had to learn for the first time how to take care of themselves. For me, my reality check looked a little different. It came in the form of a C- on my first paper. I was in shock.

There must have been a mistake; the professor just probably mixed up my papers with someone else's. There was no way that I, the person who had never gotten less than an A on a writing assignment ever was now getting a C. It blew my mind. Maybe I wasn't as good of a writer as had always thought. Maybe it was just a case in highschool of the big fish little pond and I actually was not talented. My first term of college I didn't get A's I didn't even get B's, I got C's. As long as I could remember my identity had been tied up with m intelligence. I was always the smart girl in classes. The person who people wanted to work with for group projects. If I wasn't smart anymore, what was I? Who was I?

It took me a long time to realize that my feelings of anxiousness and doubt were not exclusive to me. I would talk with friends about how hard it was to study and focus on school when all I wanted to do was to have fun. I would complain that I never had to study before in high school and I didn't know why that wasn't the case now. It wasn't until one of my friends made the comment that she had read somewhere in a psych book that "children with higher IQ's must be heavily stimulated and keep growing it farther or else they are prone to falling off the curve and developing anxiety and depression." Hearing that gave me such a reaffirming feeling that I was not the only one feeling this way.

I realized that I had always done my best to fit the mold that had been given to me at seven years old. Within my TAG classes, there was the expectation that because we were all smart, there was no need for studying. We were better than that, so we never learned proper habits for learning. When teachers would tell us to write multiple drafts and we would get an A without editing once it reinforced that mindset. So I realized that I had to go back to the beginning. I had to relearn how to be a good student.

It wasn't easy. To tell the truth, it really sucked. But what I can say, with no doubt, is that it is worth it. I have become a better student and you will too, I promise. There is a quote from one of my favorite movies "The Help" that says "you is kind, you is smart, you is important." I encourage all people who are struggling with not feeling special anymore to remember that. Your circumstances do not define you; they can shape you and mold you, but you have the final say on how things end up. They might not call you talented and gifted anymore, but so what? Just be you, and remember that there is a reason why the game TAG is for children.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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Poetry On Odyssey: Rain

I've always loved the rain, for how it fascinates me. A calm reminder from the sky to let things be.

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Rain

There is something about when it rains

It's as though the world goes quiet, and time remains.


A calming shower for the grass and trees.

A dance of raindrops for those who see.


I've always loved the rain, for how it fascinates me.

A calm reminder from the sky to let things be.


For even the sky has days it weeps.

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