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This was the result of a thread at the NaNo forums asking how non-gifted kids reacted to gifted kids, and well, I went off on a tangent a bit.

My brother and I are (were, I suppose, as we're both in college) gifted, whatever that means. My brother slacks off in school and still passes his classes. He's certainly smart, but he doesn't work to overachieve when he doesn't need to, and he certainly never was the token gifted child. He's still friends with many of his childhood friends.

However, he's my younger brother. Thanks to teachers remembering siblings and our uncommon last name, the teachers would always say, "Oh, you're Sushi's brother, aren't you?" Apparently I was the token gifted child, except for one thing. According to the test I took that supposedly determined giftedness, I'm technically not gifted. Fancy that.

I was the kid who just learned faster than everyone else, to the point that I was bored quite early on in elementary school because I already knew it, and I'd go read on what I didn't know. (I still indulge in this, except now Wikipedia makes it cool.) I learned to operate my grandparents' DOS computer beyond playing Hangman and learned to touch-type and learned math far beyond what a typical early elementary school child knew. Then I'd try to explain negative and complex numbers to my classmates and wondered why they wouldn't get it.

I got tested for the gifted program at one point, and during the testing, the proctor asked me to put the parts of a person together. I reversed the legs. When the proctor asked me about it, I insisted that the person was bowlegged but didn't switch the legs back. Whatever happened, I didn't get in. My parents protested this. Besides being their special snowflake child, I was in second grade and running out of books to read and doing math problems in half the time it took everyone else and devouring the encyclopedia, among other things. So after lots of fighting with the school, I got in. This goes to show how completely arbitrary the label can be at times.

Since then I've encountered, among many other things, the label of being 'the smart one', baseless remarks of "I hate smart people", grade comparisons to see if they did better than me on an assignment, and another very bright student being compared to me when she moved to town through remarks of "Wow, she's another Sushi!". (This person later graduated first in our high school class; I was second.) Oh, and let's not forget the pressure of maintaining a straight-A record, which I did keep until my senior year of high school. That was the year I took my classes at a local college because I was bored with high school, but that's another story. (I made my first B in a math class, interestingly enough, considering that's one of my major fields of study now.)

Oh, and friendships? This is quite the sticky area. I was friends with both gifteds and non-gifteds all throughout school, though my view of the two groups changed as I went through school. I had friends, and many of them, but they usually had friends they were closer to. This made me the social butterfly who wasn't (or isn't, really). I'm sure complaining that I only got a 97 on a test or that a three-page essay was nothing or saying that at least the test covered only these topics came off as a little annoying, especially to people who struggled with such areas. I'm pretty sure I even intimidated many of the gifted kids, but that's another story...

Another side note: The person who graduated first in my class was Korean. I'm half-Korean. This became a running joke of sorts among us gifted kids when someone else wanted to get in the top two. "You can't do it; you're not Korean," they would say.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
satellitewish
Dec. 24th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
I was in gifted for years and there was clearly two groups of students...overworking pretty girls & guys (all who became business and real estate majors) and then lazy geeks (almost all guys), who in high school turned into stoners (and who all became scientists and engineers in college). Funny how easy it is to predict a person's life path just based upon how they act as a 12 year old.

I'll also say that the overachieving people were very snobby, especially towards the "normal kids," while the the loser smart people group (that I obviously was a part of) was quick to befriend every bum and burnout we could find.

So even if you would have gotten into gifted (and its ridiculous that you didn't), I don't know where you would have fit in!

Oh and for the record, gifted classes were an absolute joke, we hardly ever did anything. The vast majority of the class time was simply free time. The only reason any of us ever went was to escape from "the normals" and to get out of class.
yayskittles
Dec. 24th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
I think that the way non-"gifted" kids react to "gifted" kids largely depends on the gifted kid's attitude. I graduated #3 in my high school class, getting 95% grades for 25% effort the whole way through, but I wasn't super arrogant about it. #1 was getting 97% grades for something like 60% effort, thought he was smarter than everyone else, and showed it. He had no friends in our class; he couldn't make them because his sneering attitude came across so clearly. He could only make friends with people in other grades because he didn't view them through the same grades-lens as he viewed us, or something.
poisonedwriter
Dec. 24th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
I was always intimidated by the gifted group of students. I knew I belonged with them, but I spent 4 years not being one of the kids that got to leave the classroom.

When I finally got in, I never mentioned that I hadn't been gifted before until we were doing an advanced algebra exercise. I'd been able to figure out everything else before without help and without background knowledge, and when everyone found out that it was my first year in the "gifted" program, I was so embarrassed. However, everyone else was amazed that they hadn't noticed me as someone without the same "gifted" training.

I tend to work my butt off. I always do the reading and the homework for the most part. It turns out "gifted" seems to be more of what you are compared to everyone else instead of you yourself. In my experience, anyway.

I wish I had an "Incredibles" icon to go with this.
cleverwench
Dec. 25th, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
We didn't have gifted classes, but I usually got the highest marks in the class. I listened, that's why I knew the answers. lol I hated how if I didn't get the highest mark everyone would act all shocked and make a big deal out of it.

Merry Christmas :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )