Is intelligence really what it is cracked up to be? Growing up, children are told how the smart ones will be the boss someday. During their school years, however, “the brains” are far from the popular crowd. They are the ones who get picked on. Often, this results in children keeping their grades to themselves. Intelligence should be a gift, but to some it is a curse.
Intellectuals walk down the hallway with a sense of shame when they are called “nerds”. Some say the bullying is out of jealousy, or maybe it is just not cool to be smart. I believe it is. When you get good grades and try in school, you are determining your future. The people who just sit around and do nothing will soon find that out. I suppose jealousy is part of it as well. When someone who fails finds out someone else passed, they might put them down and make fun of them to make themselves look bigger and better.
In some ways I have been in this position. Although I was not a loner with my nose in a book all the time, I was the target. When some people found out I excelled in academics, they wanted nothing to do with me. I was never an outcast. In fact, many of my classmates came to me for help. I thought it was somewhat amusing. They would call me a nerd outside of class, but in class I would be their go-to person for questions.
I didn’t like being the bud of their jokes and their math tutor at the same time. I didn’t think it was fair but at the time I thought it was just the way things were and I dealt with it. As time went on, however, I realized that it had to stop. I wasn’t going to start failing but I had to do something. I started keeping my grades to myself and when someone asked me for help I would assist them, but only every once in a while. Slowly people forgot and if an announcement about grades came up, people would dismiss it.
I realized then that I was changing myself, and that wasn’t right. I decided to break the barrier. I would have friends and get good grades, it was a road less traveled, but I would make the journey. I started openly answering questions in class, helping others and if someone asked my grade I would gladly tell them. It felt good to just be myself and get satisfaction. No one made fun of me, only a few comments that I would laugh at. I know I’m not a nerd, so why did I think for so long that they were right? I made the right decision in being myself. People aren’t really your friends if they make fun of you half the time. I know now that I have great friends and a bright future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.