Thursday, August 30, 2012

Poor Little Smart Girl

This is one of the first posts where I'm going to be brutally honest about myself and discuss one of the things about myself that I don't like. You are welcome, to like myself, hate me that little bit for having this side to myself. It isn't a nice person, or the person I'd like to think myself to be. It is the kind of person I would look at and think poorly of. As the Bible verse goes "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (and for anybody who's never thought to look that original reference up it is Matthew 7:3). This is but one of many planks.

Everybody knows the concept of the 'poor little rich girl'. Goodness knows the concept has spurred a multitude of movies and most people are now trained from birth (or school entrance age) to pick out the girls spoilt by daddy's money. My own best friend lives next to one. The poor girl doesn't comprehend why spending $300 dollars on a dress would even cause us to blink or how the 'simple trinket' her mother brought her back from Greece would make us dumbfounded.

I'm not rich. I come from a single parent household (mostly but my actual family living arrangements are a story in itself so we'll go with the short version here); the daughter of a teacher. Certainly a member of the middle class which by the standards of 50 years ago does make me pretty spoilt by default. Nothing noteworthy though; I never had my own television or computer, I got my first mobile phone as a high school senior, pretty standard stuff.

However I am smart. I just get things. I was the quickest off the bat of course, in lower primary school I was nice and average. By middle school, however, I'd flow past my classmates. Despite accidentally skipping a grade going from Australia to the US I was easily on par for the work. Grand marshal at the Grade 8 graduation when I was in Grade 7 in fact. That is to mean top of my year level.

Then coming home to Australia I dropped back down the grade. My mum is very VERY against the ol' grade skiparoo. So I stopped having to work. Yes being 'kept down' even if unofficially like that did bad things to my work ethic. Just the same I am definitely one of those kids who needed the social maturity aspect of staying with my own age.

At not point from then on did I need to work particularly hard. Or if I did work it was in order to ace it, beat every other kid in the class, that kind of thing. I graduated dux of my high school having topped 4 of my 6 subjects. This stuff just came easily to me.

That is not the negative side to this. I don't communicate my intelligence very well. That isn't 'I completely lack social skills' so much as 'I can't explain smart things to you'. I can talk out my ass about the weather, my favourite kind of music or how much I don't want to be doing XYZ. You teach me something and put me in front of a test paper and I'll ace it. You ask me for the same information immediately before the test I'll fumble my words, and likely look dumbly at you unable to work it out at all. The knowledge trapped inside my brain is not easily accessed.

At its very worst my smart spoilt brain exhibits incessant perfectionism and the inclination to skitz out. When asked to do some kind of assessment and I can't do it. I can't exhibit any kind of patience. I stress, in the past I've been known to break down in tests to the point that the teacher provided some general guidance on the questions. Admittedly that was test I still failed - but had the teacher not provided assistance like he did I would have got about 10% instead of 43%... I study engineering most people fail sometime. I'm too slack a procrastinator to maintain high marks. My problem is I still generally do maintain high marks despite my procrastinating.

Just this past week I went to do a lab test. This being a test of objectives from the previous 4 assisted labs. Where you have to answer some questions (among them 5 true falses which I guessed) and then construct an experimental rig and explain how it tests what you've been asked to do. I couldn't do it. I couldn't remember any of the rigs. Yet I lucked into the easiest question available, then when it came time to construct it I left out a component so critical the lecturer pointed out that it was missing rather than simply give me the mark I deserved. You know what I got for that test? 10 out of 10. If I got 10/10 I shouldn't have been the only one. But you know what, I was.

That's my luck. I'm the poor little smart girl. I stress about things, fear I'll fail and rarely get below a Distinction. I screw my face up and get really stressed and people bend to help me feel smarter than I really am. I live in fear that one day I'll get the mark I really deserve. It will not be pretty.

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