I’m a person people often call “smart.”
It’s an odd thing to be smart, or at least thought of as smart.
Really, what I think when I hear that is, “Well. I like to write. I like to think. Does that make me smart? Doesn’t everyone like to think?”
I attended a homeschool co-op for five years. In other words, from 3rd grade till 8th, I’ve been surrounded by smart people. So I learned to take smartness for granted. I figured everyone must be smart, and people only called me smart to compliment me. Or maybe I’m just well-spoken, is that it? They just want to compliment me. And I just seem smarter than most.
But I’m in eighth grade, now, and attend a public school. And gradually, over this past semester (over in four days, thank God) I have learned that, well, not everybody is too smart.
And I’m not saying this because I’m so selfish, by the way. I’m saying it because it’s true. I am making a casual observation on my daily life. That’s what this blog is for, after all. So seriously, don’t be offended or anything by what I say. I’m telling what is, to me, the truth.
Yeah, not everyone’s too bright at my school. Just normal things like more homework than usual causes havoc. I mean, homework is not that difficult, people. Honestly. In Junior High, homework isn’t too much of a burden. At least, not in public school.
At my homeschool co-op (let’s call it JB, from now on. I’m not telling you its full name), I worked two grades ahead of me. Which, to be honest, really sucked. I got high school level homework (and classwork) in seventh grade. It took me a while; that’s not a surprise. I procrastinated, yeah, and I often didn’t finish my homework (nobody really minded too much if I didn’t; I mean, hey, I was homeschooled and doing high school classes that were seriously difficult even for the high schoolers. Clearly, it wasn’t a good thing that I didn’t finish. But it wasn’t necessarily a terrible thing, either.), but it was still very difficult work. Without procrastination, my History homework alone took me somewhere between 3 and 4 hours.
We went to school twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, where our teachers assigned us homework and we debated and discussed some pretty deep stuff. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the weekend, we completed our homework.
The challenging things we discussed fed my overactive and “smart” imagination. If I hadn’t had that education, I certainly wouldn’t be so smart as I am now.
However, I would prefer to just call myself a thinker.
I don’t like to take things for granted.
I like to think about the things people take for granted.
I like to pry apart every little metaphor, examine every piece of art and writing until I understand it. Some people might call me a perfectionist. I’m not a perfectionist. I just want to get it. And whatever I do, I want other people to get it as well.
I am a thinker.
I think about everything.
In some ways, perhaps, being a smart person is a difficult person to be. We wonder and ponder and think and observe and we enjoy it. Well, most of the time.
It’s HARD to be smart. It’s difficult to live when I am not challenged.
We (smart people, I mean – thinkers) think all the time, and sometimes we think too hard about things that aren’t meant to be thought very hard about.
Sometimes we miss the joy of taking things for granted.
Sometimes we think too much about what we’ve said, or what others have said, and we take it to a much-too-extreme level of “understanding.” Meaning, when we have a conversation, we think and think and think and think about what the other person said when the other person’s remark was just passive, just a little nothing statement.
But because we think so much, we think about the little nothing statements as though they were big something statements.
If you know what I mean.
There are a lot of smart people out there.
There are a lot of not-very-smart people out there.
My classmates freak out over extra homework when, in comparison to JB homework, three times the average public school homework is seriously easy.
I mean, really? We haven’t even written a formal essay (excepting an unfinished in-class one) once in our advanced English class all semester. REALLY?! We should be writing essays in advanced English like a snap of the fingers! At JB, we wrote a four-page essay rough draft over the weekend like lickety-split, no problem. Easy homework.
This dilemma can really annoy me.
Maybe that’s the hardest part of being smart.
When you’re smart, non-smart people annoy the heck out of you.
Not like we want to be annoyed by them. Really, we want to like them. We envy them, even, at times.
We don’t always want to be smart.
We don’t always want to think about stuff all the time.
Sometimes we want to take things for granted.
Only, at the same time, we do. We want to not want to take things for granted.
We don’t like to forget. We don’t like it when other people forget. We want to know everything. We don’t like it when other people choose not to know things. Basic things.
While I know it’s a privilege to be “smart”, and I am grateful for this, I wouldn’t call myself smart. I am a thinker, and sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I weren’t.