I am not particularly brilliant. Being a homeschooler, there are two intellectual stereotypes: genius or fairly dumb. Obviously, stereotypes are extremely broad….there are plenty of homeschoolers who don’t fall into either of these categories. I am one. I am not a genius. I get decent grades, but I didn’t finish school early, win a spelling bee, or start a generation changing revolution (, anyone?). Pretty much the only thing I am really good at is reading. Obsessively. And talking about reading. (my roommates are already tired of my passionate ranting about literary topics). Hence the English major.

A lot of my college classes right now are fairly easy. Lots of reading, some simple projects, a lot of staying on top of details. This is perfect for me. I read the chapter, look over the terms, and quiz or test fairly successfully. This is especially true of subjects like history, art appreciation, and speech. I wouldn’t say this is being smart…just happens to be my talent. However, some of my peers…seatmates, roommates, etc., work much harder at these classes than I do. Hours of studying, organized notecards, constant review. Unfortunately, some of them don’t test as successfully as I do. This causes several issues.
First, there is sheer guilt. When my grade is significantly higher than that of someone who has spent much more time agonizing over it than I have, I feel guilty. Logically, I know that I have no control over this and should not feel any guilt, but regardless, it is there.

The more awkward result is my consternation over what to say…this occurrence has left me paranoid about admitting my lack of preparation for anything, lest I do well. I am equally nervous about sharing my grades, reluctant to make someone else feel bad. Finally, I cannot ever express discontent with my own performance…if I got a B when I wanted an A, that sounds bad to someone who just wanted to pass. If I got an A minus when I wanted a nearly (or exactly) perfect grade, that just sounds ridiculous.

This leaves a very delicate balance to walk and I have not figured it out yet. How do I rejoice in my grades without making someone else feel bad? How to bewail my performance without sounding superior? I do not in any way feel like I’m better than someone who has to study harder for a grade….honestly, it makes me feel lazy, like I have it easy. I want to rejoice in the grades of others without them comparing their grade to mine and feeling bad. Suggestions anyone?

4 thoughts on “Guilt

  1. Sure, rub it in. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I was one of those people who would have to study and study and study. And (depending on the class) all I would have to show for it were average grades. I just couldn’t pick things up or retain them as easily as many others. So in that respect, I cannot identify with you.
    However, I was friends with brilliant people who just “got it” and were still very nice, fun people. Then there were those who were very smart, but were very haughty. What separated them was pride or the lack thereof. Everyone knows who the “smart people” are in class, but the ones who are respected are the ones that are willing to relate well with and possibly even help us dumb people understand a little bit better. It’s not a contest. If others are angry about your abilities, then that is their issue to deal with. What matters is how you relate with them.
    There’s no need to feel guilty about having a gift or even a need to hide it. Use it to excel!

    • thank you so much for the encouragement! I certainly try to be very normal despite getting good grades, so hopefully I am one of the nice ones. πŸ™‚

  2. Definitely, when you do great on a test take pride in that. It’s just one of those little victory’s you can have while at school, knowing that you had the confidence to do well on that test. However, that news doesn’t have to be broadcasted to the whole class upon the return of the test. I know for me, when I get a test back and it’s good news I just hold that joy inside and take a sigh of relief! But then there are those students who just have to let the whole class know what they got and that seems to instantly create a feeling of “wow, I already don’t like this person”. I can relate in terms of not having to put so much time in some of my classes since those subjects I tend to feel pretty comfortable with. However, it may feel like you are being ‘lazy’ but it’s just something that you’re a natural at. Don’t take that for granted! I know some people definitely need the help and I’m totally fine with helping out somebody that needs it. It is a fine line, but one you will figure out in no time. Being humble is key πŸ™‚ I wish you the best on your upcoming tests! (You know, if you have any coming up that is πŸ™‚

  3. I definitely don’t broadcast it to the whole class….I’ve a little more sense than that. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the encouragement!!! I do have tests….three this week! stupid midterms……so the good wishes are appreciated! and returned back to you. πŸ™‚

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