Geniuses, and how not be one

Since I was a kid, I’ve been pretty good at school. Grades were not that big of an issue for me. I don’t think I ever worked as hard as the other kids in my class, definitely didn’t top the hardest workers but I was always a close second.

The thing is that grade school and high school are filled with stupid people; most 13 to 16 year olds are stupid. And while it’s fun to just sit down and space out while the teacher is lecturing, not really worrying about what’s happening in class, it gives you a false sense of superiority.

I’m not a fucking genius, I don’t even know if I’m all that smart anymore. What bothers me is I used to think I could be a genius, or at least brilliant in some way. When you never try your best it’s kind of hard to judge your true potential. The danger here is how comfortable you get with that potential you think you have. I clung to it really hard though because, when everyone around you has been telling you how smart they think you are and how great they think you’ll become, the prospect of being average becomes incredibly frightening.

I have finals coming up this week, finals I am not prepared for, finals that scare the ever living shit out of me because some of the material I stare at for hours without having the slightest idea of what to do. Geniuses don’t get stuck, smart people don’t get stuck, stupid people do… right? Maybe this is what McGill does to people, maybe my other terms will get better, but this first term kind of sucks and I’m sitting here typing this up feeling like an utter moron.

True geniuses don’t fail, they are just brilliant at everything they do. Mathematical geniuses especially, the concepts come naturally to them. They play with numbers, speak to them, they don’t fight and curse trying to make sense of them.

I’m slowly coming to the realization that I am not brilliant, that I’m not smart, that I’m not as good as everyone thought I would be. Worst of all, that I’m not as good as I thought I was. The prospect of not being able to become a mathematician keeps me up at night, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’ll see how finals go and reassess.