I have some mixed feelings around my intelligence and I wanted to talk about it to see if others can relate and if I can find a better perspective on it.
Growing up I was told a lot how smart I was. That was the trait other people most noticed about me. Getting compliments about it is nice in some ways, but I also noticed that classmates would sometimes feel badly about themselves in comparison and then I would feel bad that they felt bad. Some people really wanted to compete with me around marks, and in a lot of contexts competition makes me feel really uncomfortable. To avoid all of that I would try to minimize the visibility of my intelligence. I’m not sure how much I succeeded, but I certainly tried.
When I got to university I started doing much worse in school. I could still understand the material, but it became really difficult to make myself go to class or complete assignments. At a certain point I started failing classes, and this was pretty emotionally difficult since I was supposed to be so smart. I limped through my bachelor’s degree and eventually completed it, but I didn’t feel like I got the learning and value out of it that I wanted. I ended up with a feeling that I might be smart, but that doesn’t really matter because I often can’t make use of it.
Now I’m not sure what to say about the topic to myself, or to other people. Any thoughts?