Where Will Their Lights Shine?

March 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

In middle school, gifted girls commonly “dumb down” because they believe that smart girls won’t be popular or get boyfriends.  It may take the boys a while to catch on, but by high school gifted kids of both sexes commonly hide their smarts.  After all, other kids may resent them or be jealous if they get all A’s, and if they fail or get a C, other kids will laugh at them.

What happens in college?

Sometimes gifted kids can bloom in college, finding a more intellectual environment and others with similar interests.

But if a gifted student goes to a school with lots of “average” college students, the same rules may apply.  I was reminded of this when reading the book, Gifted Grown Ups, when I came across this passage:

Gifted Grownups“…the school [Nora] originally attended featured large doses of boredom with weak courses and resentment from both students and faculty of her academic standards for herself.  “I liked asking questions in class.  I think people got hostile because the prof and I seem to be having a good time.   After a while, it got to me and I just shut up.  My sociology prof didn’t call on me deliberately because he said I did too much work for the level of the course.  When I came to him with my term project all planned in advance, he was actually nasty.  Social life?  I have to be careful about dates.   The last person was angry with me for using big words – and he had a master’s degree in business!”

“An intense student at a highly respected Catholic university, Bob enjoys discussing serious issues, but he finds it very lonely at parties because, he theorizes, bright girls have fallen for the myth that to be popular you have to cover your brain.  “To go to parties you have to do without discussin things you really care about and be more trivial.  I have begun interesting conversations with girls I know are very smart, only to have them turn it off if they think someone else may be listening.”‘

I wonder…does this happen at Harvard, MIT and Stanford, too?  Or can we truly find colleges for our gifted kids where they can let their lights shine?

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Entry filed under: social-emotional needs.

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Insights and advice from a parent of two gifted teenagers

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