Hello! Welcome back to my series about how being the “good kid” has ruined my ability to adult! Okay-that was harsh. Being completely honest, I just wanted to grab your attention. Do I have it now? Awesome. Being the “good kid” hasn’t ruined it. Or maybe it did. I haven’t quite decided. Maybe I will by the end of this series. But for now, it has negatively impacted me on a very large scale. Today I want to talk about growing up taking “gifted” classes, where I never felt like I fit in.
I graduated high school in 2012. I wasn’t quite at the very top of my class, but I was in the top 10% (I believe I had a 3.9 GPA when I graduated). Still very impressive. I graduated from an Associate’s Degree program at a community college in 2015 with a 2.4 GPA. Theres’s a big jump in the wrong direction. Much like most other people my age (aka millennials), I was promised success and happiness in life if I behaved well, went to college and worked hard.
I grew up always being in the “gifted program”. Throughout Elementary and Middle School, I was in classes that taught higher levels of math and all around more challenging material. I always struggled in those classes and I noticed I was not as successful as the other students. I felt like I had to work much harder than everyone else. I never understood why I was in those classes but I never expressed that thought because it was just the expectation. Anything less would be inadequate. In High School, I took the minimum required AP and Honors classes to graduate with Academic Honors because I was finally excited to have a break from working harder than I felt I was capable of. I still had to take some AP and Honors classes though because it was ingrained in me that graduating without academic honors was not an option. My family and teachers were always disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of more challenging classes but what I didn’t tell them was that I was already being challenged more than enough in regular classes.
Before I go any further I want to address something because I can envision the comments now. I AM A SMART PERSON. I am not writing this because I need a confidence boost. I am not trying to throw a pity party. I’m not thirsting for compliments by putting myself down. I am simply sharing my experience and expressing thoughts I have suppressed my entire life. I know I will be successful. Maybe not in conventional ways but in my own way.
Okay- now that that’s out of the way- college was never not an option. Four-year university was always my destiny (according to everyone except for me). By the time I hit my senior year of high school, I was so deeply depressed that the idea of going to college was breaking me. I didn’t know how many more years of overworking myself to appear like I was “above average” I could handle. I didn’t want to apply to college. I didn’t want to write essays and pay application fees for something I didn’t want to do. I had no concept of what I wanted to go to school for. I didn’t want to take out thousands of dollars in loans to take basic English and math classes because I couldn’t settle on a major. But I did. I applied to one school and got accepted to that one school so I put on the act that I was so proud and happy to be attending my dream school (I didn’t give a shit about the school). But everyone was so proud of me that I couldn’t stand the idea of not having that kind of support.
It was around this time that I started to realize that I had no idea what I truly wanted because I spent so much time believing that the path I was on was the only right path to be on. This was also around the time I started realizing that my levels of depression were definitely not normal. Of course I didn’t express that to anyone though because there wasn’t room for depression in the plan that was already set in stone. It was around this time that I figured out I had been given unrealistic expectations but didn’t know how to shed them.
I think that is enough vomiting up suppressed feelings for today. Thank you for following my series about growing up as the “good kid”. Stay tuned for Part III about my college experience and please feel free to share your experience with me!