Playing the System

October 7th, 2022

I do not want to sound like I'm full of myself when I say this, but I tend to get compliments from people that I am smart. It could be because of the way I speak, the grades I get, or my knowledge in computers, but the word "smart" is defined through comparison - to be smart is to have more knowledge than other people. You can be dumb in one crowd of people but smart in another. To give myself credit, I am smart in terms of technology, school smarts, etc, but I can barely handle street-smarts and basic navigation. If I'm driving somewhere, I am always putting it in my navigation unless I've driven there more than 10 times to memorize the route.

Am I flattered by being called "smart"? Absolutely. Do I necessarily believe that I am smart? No, and I think it is natural to feel that way. We tend to overshadow what we know with what we don't know, and I tend to do that a lot. I am stupid when it comes to geography. There are times where I am speaking to family and they ask me "oh, how'd you get to (blank)", and I sorta feel like an idiot for not knowing, given the fact that everyone else knows and it's a location that is fairly close to me.

Another reason why I feel that I am not the smartest is because not a lot of people in my real-life scenarios can relate to what I enjoy. I could say I coded up some crazy program that can calculate a bunch of things (idk but you get what I mean), and no one would really care. It's happened before where I have worked hard on producing something in a computer space and didn't get much attention out of it from friends (I guess this hints back to my motivation journal entry), so I kinda felt like I was wasting my time not trying to do things that would actually be "useful" with where I am.

Going back to school stuff, there are times that I have, uhm "cheated" on some things. Well, we all have I'm sure. There are times where I believe that cheating is fair game, and school is one of them (as long as you don't get caught), and with the rise of online assignments and test that are done asyncronously, it has never been easier to look up all the answers. This then reflects an inaccurate grade. You probably didn't know anything for the test, but you aced it anyway.

I believe that it has gotten to a point where school and college is not about how much you know, but how to get around the system. Especially for colleges that have a large density of work to get through, it has never been more important to find ways to complete assignments in the most efficient way possible. It makes me laugh a little when I get my grades at the end of the semester, and I have an A in a class I still have no clue what it's about.

It goes to show that grading metrics are bullshit, which sucks because a lot of people get bent over their grades, myself included. Most of the time it isn't even about "not being smart", but rather about others looking at the grades you have to determine your knowledge. It really sucks that the education system revolves around grades to define someone's attributes. The strict two-dimensional system of 0 to 100 does not match the three-dimensional structure of the human brain, as we have strengths and weaknesses inside subjects themselves. A single letter grade for a broad subject just isn't gonna cut it.

With all that being said, I guess this is a mini rant about school. It's still important to realize what being smart actually means. I'm sure that you are also smart, you just have to find your niche. It could be something big or something small, but you will always be important. Do not doubt yourself, force yourself to find at least one thing that you are confident in. I could wait all day.