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“Smart” People

In school, I do well and take advanced classes and am about as much of a nerd as anyone you’ll find. I love science and math and am not afraid to show that and because of all of these things, I’ve been lumped in this group whose existence as a stereotype tends to bother me—smart people. 

I’ve had someone come up to me and point-blank ask me “Are you smart?” I don’t know how to respond to that because “yes” sounds cocky, “no” usually ends up with backlash, and people don’t like to hear “I don’t know.”

Intelligence is something that people tend to look at as measured by grades and performance on tests or ability to converse about certain topics. And if you look at it that way, maybe I do fit the mold of a “smart person.”

But that’s not what I look at. I look around and struggle to rank people’s intelligence because it’s not something quantitative to me. Intelligence, talent—they’re not totally measurable. I struggle to find anyone who isn’t really good at something, even with people who don’t always acknowledge their talents themselves.

Each of us is gifted differently, and if you ask me, that’s pretty cool. Yes, I’m good at science, but maybe you are a gifted musician who plays the piano better than I could imagine. Or a really good artist who paints and draws things that look real. Or a fantastic soccer player who loves the sport and can make it into so much more than just kicking a ball. Or a car enthusiast who knows more about how a car works than I ever will and can hear an engine and know exactly what kind it is and if something is wrong with it.

Even if I do fall into this category of “smart person,” why do people seem to value it above anything else? We are each talented in different ways, and maybe if we started to focus on the ways that our differences make each of us better instead of trying to figure out who is the best, we’d get a lot more done and stop a lot of unnecessary rivalry.

I’m a nerd who loves science, math, and writing; but I’m not better than someone whose talents fall into other categories. Yes, my intelligence just so happens to be of the academic variety, but if yours isn’t, it isn’t any less valuable or any less necessary. Trust me, if we had a world of people like me, we’d never get anything done because I don’t have the abilities necessary to do a lot of things.

So instead of grouping the smart people and the athletic people and the artistic people and the musical people (and all the other types of people), why don’t we each appreciate others’ talents and abilities? We each have these different things we can do, these different ways we can contribute. There are things that you are better at than I am, and there are things that I am better at than you are, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than just okay—it’s amazing.

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