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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Intimidated by Intelligence

The title says it all today.

I think that the United States has a problem with it's educational system. The first thing is that learning is not portrayed as fun or even useful to many students in class rooms. I know this, and I have been there. Having just passed through the high school and college level of education, I can say that the experience is less than hopeful. The life lead by intelligent students who want to excel is not only miserable but dauntingly hopeless. This is because intelligent students are ridiculed for being smart.

When I went to high school, I was teased for getting the highest grade in the class not only by other students but by the teachers as well! My English teacher used to call on me because not a single person wanted to answer a question and she knew that I had the correct answer in my beedy little brain. All that attention not only effectively singled me out, but made the other students hostile against me. I started to seclude myself and blatantly lie to the professors. When they asked me a question, I would tell them that I didn't know the answer because they were causing too much negative attention for me. The other kids in the class never wanted to talk to me because I was intimidating to them. Having a teacher set your place in the high school pecking order was, at one time, hard to handle.

I was very disappointed to see this trend continue to the college level. I was hopeful an naive to think that people willing to fork over money for an education must value intelligence, but I was wrong, many of them didn't. Again, the students looked down on me for getting the highest test score. It seemed that the only one that understood the idea that "i like to learn" was another student who happened to earn, on occasion, a higher test score than me. The highest score...A title that caused grief and pride simultaneously.

I can honestly say that this is not how education should be viewed. People in general are scared shitless of intelligent people whether its conscious or not. This is because people compare themselves to others almost instantly and constantly. Its the same kind of lowering of self esteem that happens when young girls look and beautiful photo shopped models and wonder why they don't look like that. Education should be viewed as something with high value, a form of achievement, and definitely not something that others look down on. This country will never be smarter, more advanced, and more equipped to handle the situations we are putting ourselves into until we get over our fear of intelligent minds.

There are many smart humans who want to help the world....if only the world would let them. Because despite being picked on, most nerds like helping. Most smart people see the value in making a difference. They are motivated and want to make good changes.

Next time you see a smart person...congratulate them for their accomplishments because I know they are probably getting a lot of crap from their class mates for "trying to hard"...and "making everyone look bad"


Did You Know? from Amybeth on Vimeo.