"It's Because You're Smart"…

"It's Because You're Smart"…

I have never found school easy.  I worked hard and I got good grades, but I have never found school easy.
After GCSE’s, when I came out with good(ish, I mean they weren’t insanely impressive but they were towards the higher end) grades, I was pegged as a “smart person”… a common misconception when it comes to me.  Because of this, when I was stressing before a test or asking for extra help, or saying I couldn’t go out because I needed to study I usually got met with the same response: “Yeah, but you’ll be fine because you’re smart.
What I’ve tried to explain (Granted, pretty poorly because I’m not as good communicating in person) is that getting good grades is not always directly linked to being “smart”.  I think I’ve always had an interest in learning, but I’ve always been pretty slow at it.  I don’t have a learning disability or anything, but it takes me quite a while to process things and actually understand what’s going on.  What people don’t seem to realise is that when I sit in a classroom, or more recently a lecture theatre, I rarely understand what’s going on the first time round.  I have to go home, look back on my notes, google things and research more in order to actually understand what I’m being taught.
I feel like the phrase “but you’re smart” comes with the underlying connotations of “naturally gifted”, “doesn’t have to try as hard”, and “definitely going to do well” but none of that is the case with me.  I have to work ridiculously hard to get the grades that I get… and it’s not like I need people to give me a well done for all the extra work I put in, I do that because I have to.  It can just be a little disheartening when the results of your hard work get brushed off and dis-valued because everyone expected it “because you’re smart”.
I think what I’m trying to say is that you never know the background work that goes into something, yet we’re so quick to dismiss someone’s effort because we see them as “naturally gifted”.  The majority of people have put a massive amount of effort behind everything that they do, only to have people dismiss it or see it as something frivolous or something that comes naturally.  People don’t do it on purpose but we all need to be a little more careful with how we talk to people and what we say, me included.  Call me smart, tell me you are proud of how I did, but don’t make your compliment sound like an excuse for why I did as well as I did.
This was slightly ranty… Sorry haha just something that goes through my mind a lot,
Lots of love,
Jas xx
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20 Comments

  1. February 8, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    Yeah people just assume that you have a natural talent and never struggled a day in your life when it’s just the opposite. Don’t mind what they say too much though. You know the truth and that’s all that matters.

  2. February 9, 2017 / 2:31 am

    This is really true. I’ve also done this to people.

  3. February 9, 2017 / 11:07 pm

    I definitely feel you on this one too Jas! I used to get this comment a lot during school, college and uni, and I know several of my friends have struggled with this too, because it almost puts extra pressure on you! On several occasions I didn’t do very well in my exams, but excelled in others, and like you said, you never know the background work that goes into studying and practising. I’m not good with maths so I have to really push myself whenever I had to do something using maths, and it still affects even now that I’m out of uni. I wouldn’t let people’s comments get to you though, I think often, it’s used as a compliment but you’re right, it can come across as a bit of a throwaway compliment. Really interesting post, got me thinking! – Tasha

    • February 9, 2017 / 11:13 pm

      Awww thank you, I agree about the pressure! I’ve always struggled in maths too (and science to be honest) and I know it can be meant as a compliment, but sometimes it does not have the desired effect.
      Jas xx

      • February 10, 2017 / 5:42 pm

        Very true, I think sometimes people forget it can cause more stress and pressure! Have a lovely weekend.

  4. February 12, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    Been learning a lot about how comments like that can create a fixed mindset in children….

    • February 12, 2017 / 12:43 pm

      Interesting! I can see why, from a young age I found that they put a lot of unwanted pressure/expectation on me. I also think it would be really easy for them to lead children to complacency!
      Jas xx

      • February 12, 2017 / 12:47 pm

        That is exactly it Jas. if you say it enough to a younger child, they begin to believe they are infallible, but then they are lulled into a false sense of security, and don’t want to try something harder, or new, for fear of failure. They thing that if they are wrong, they may not be deemed ‘smart’ anymore.
        Better to praise the effort than the child’s intelligence, if you know what I mean!

        • February 12, 2017 / 12:50 pm

          Yeah I definitely know what you mean, at such a young age it can be easy to be influenced by such a small sentence, it’s really scary!
          Jas xx

          • February 12, 2017 / 1:19 pm

            Truly. Makes me think so.much before speaking to my students!

  5. angelanoelauthor
    February 12, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Hi! I think you’ve hit on something very important. Being called “smart” sounds like a compliment–and it’s likely intended as such. But your post made me think more deeply about that idea. Natural gifts aren’t earned, though developing them certainly is. Celebrating and honoring the hard work producing the good results seems to encourage accountability and a commitment to progress rather than perfection. I’m looking forward to learning more! Thanks for the post.

    • February 12, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      Awwwww I’m so glad this got you thinking! That was the goal haha I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      Jas xx

  6. February 12, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    Fantastic post! I always like to say that when you see someone else, you’re seeing their Highlight Reel. You’re quite right when you say you don’t see the effort that goes into it; outside witnesses just see the end products and, usually, they only see the ‘good’ products at that. Best thing to do is to not be dismissive, appreciate good results because of the hard work that’s gone in 🙂 Hope you maintain your strength and keep putting the effort in!

    • February 12, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Thank you! I love that highlight reel comparison, it’s so true! Glad you enjoyed this,
      Jas xx

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