I’m still smart.
I was just looking at Monster.com, saw a link for the Tickle IQ test, and decided to go ahead and take it for shits and giggles. It would appear that I have not gotten any dumber since the first grade, thankfully; my IQ is still 140.
When I was a kid, I got put in all the Talented and Gifted programs; I felt pretty smug and superior about it, looking back, although I wouldn’t have recognized it in myself at the time. In first and second grade, my elementary school had an advanced reading track; all I remember of that is our special reading group and extra trips to the school library. When we moved to Florida for third through fifth grade, their Gifted program was centered around math and science. I liked reading more than math and science, and wasn’t too keen on the program at first, but I grew to love science (and tolerate math). We moved again for sixth grade, and the new school system had a SIGNAL program (I forget what the acronym stood for) for gifted students. We read novels for class, in addition to the boring excerpts in our normal reading book; the class struck me as more additional work than advanced work at the time.
Once I got to middle school (yet another district), we were separated into “normal” and “advanced” classes. As I recall, there was no mixing and matching; if you were in the advanced group, you took all advanced classes. If you were in the normal group, you didn’t get to take just one advanced class. Of course, I would have taken all the advanced classes, anyway, so I may be remembering it wrong.
In high school (when I went back to the school district where I spent sixth grade), it took me a couple of years to realize that I was no longer *required* to take advanced classes. After I got my first D — Advanced Algebra II, Sophomore year — something finally clicked, and I realized that I didn’t *have* to take advanced classes if I didn’t want to.
It was all downhill from there.
Well, not really. I opted not to take a math my Junior year, and took the “normal” Analysis class my Senior year. (In my school, Analysis was the “I don’t want to take Trig yet” class, not the super-uber beyond-Calc class.) All the other people in my advanced-class circle took Trig their Junior and Calculus their Senior year. I bailed on the maths and stuck with advanced everything else. —Oh, and I don’t think I took Advanced Government my Senior year, either.
In my adult life, I’ve realized that my IQ doesn’t really mean shit. I don’t always have any more common sense than the next person. My written communication skills are pretty slick, IMHO, but that’s just because I’m a perfectionist motherfucker when it comes to grammar and spelling. My social skills have been a long time in developing, but I finally feel like I can socialize like everyone else now, instead of feeling like a socially-inept goober.
Being smart didn’t make me more motivated. Being smart didn’t make me procrastinate less. Being smart didn’t keep me from taking seven years to finish a four-year degree. Being smart didn’t get me an awesome job right out of college.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t regret the fact that I’m apparently more intelligent than the average bear. It’s just that my perspective changed quite a bit once I lost that chip on my shoulder. It’s not just smarts that can get you somewhere in life; it’s persistence and dedication, too.
I need to get on that.