I think those two years in the Gifted and Talented program in junior high ruined me. I mean, sure, it taught me the value of lateral thinking and finding novel ways to approach problems and solve them. But they never told me that lateral thinking wasn’t always necessary…or welcomed.
I found myself quite often doing things and acting ways with people that they wouldn’t expect, and it usually got me nowhere. In situations where I was uncomfortable, I’d default to trying to overthink, and enough of that, all I’d get was, “Shawn, you’re weird.”
Yeah, maybe, possibly. OK, yes. Weird enough to get in the way of really connecting with strangers and acquaintances. Kinda gotta know me long enough to really get me, I guess. Et cetera. Or whatever.
Two years wasn’t enough. Longer, and I would’ve learned this, and the important lesson that even though I had some mental skills, I wasn’t intrinsically more special than any other kid, regardless of what the entrance exam rated me. I should’ve been taught that real work, real study, real growth, was the way to find success; it wasn’t just something granted to me because of my special classification (or, at least in an ideal world, yeah).
I was praised for being smart and having potential. I should’ve been praised for actually applying myself. :shrug:
Not everyone I interact with wants to be a puzzle to solve.