The usual Hollywood stereotype of the intellectually gifted isn't flattering. High IQ kids are often depicted as socially awkward, physically weak, physically unattractive, and timid. They're often bullied at school, and they're miserable.
In my experience, this couldn't be further from the truth.
In high school, I enrolled in the same classes as the gifted students. I, myself, was not gifted. In fact, I distinctly remember an IQ tester coming to school when I was in grade 3. She asked me to arrange some blocks to match a picture of a house she showed me. After attempting to move the blocks for a few seconds, I gave up. I simply couldn't visualize the blocks in my head. I might have been borderline retarded as child because there were a lot of simple things I couldn't do (like finding my way out of a moderately sized house when I was four years old, and when I decided I was lost, I started crying).
Okay, back to high school. The only reason I was able to enroll with the gifted kids was because I worked my ass off to excel academically. I was the stereotypical nerdy bookworm. (Tangentially, none of my schoolmates ever bullied me. In fact, the 'bullies' in elementary school respected me for doing well in school some strange reason). As a result of my hard work, I was offered the chance to study among 'the gifted'. I agreed.
Why would I deliberately put myself through a rigorous program that would likely burn out anyone who wasn't actually gifted? Because I wanted the prestige. When I was much younger, my family thought I was stupid. That was partly what motivated me to want to excel academically. This was my chance to prove to them just how wrong they were.
The gifted kids in high school blew my mind away. They shattered every preconceived notion I had of those 'nerdy' gifted kids often depicted by Hollywood. They weren't socially awkward at all. They were far more sociable and well-adjusted than most the other normal kids who were often moody and anti-social. The gifted kids had lots of friends, and they had good friends, not shitty ones who attracted a lot of drama. Nobody bullied the gifted kids. Nobody teased them. In fact, they were respected and admired by most the student body. They were as gods and goddesses.
It wasn't hard for me to understand why. These gifted friends of mine were good at everything. Academics. Music. Art. Speech. Debate. They were funny as hell. Extremely witty. Athletic. And strong. They worked out. They played sports. They did well in sports. They were the captains of sports teams.
Whenever I hung around them during lunch, I would sit with them and say absolutely nothing because I'd be absolutely enraptured by whatever it was they were discussing. I was utterly awestruck by their intelligence, wit, and good humor. They made me laugh so hard. They debated deep topics, ranging from politics to religion. They cracked fun of the rising tide of multiculturalism and forced diversity way before this became a thing. I mostly kept my mouth shut because I wouldn't be able to keep up with them, so I just soaked in their every word.
I'm proud to say that I competed with them academically. Sometimes, I would even score higher than them on a test. Once, I even scored a higher GPA. That didn't mean I was smart. I brute-forced my studies. They could sit in class, listen to the lecture, and understand the lesson on the spot. I would often zone-out because I'd be completely lost. Only after going home and poring over my textbook for several hours would I finally come to an understanding of that day's lesson. If they had worked as hard as I did, I would have stood no chance of competing with them.
Looking back, I feel blessed for having been friends with these gifted kids. They weren't nerds. They weren't weak. They commanded respect. They certainly had mine.
Maybe my personal experience was just a fluke. Maybe the rest of the world is as cruel towards intelligent children as Hollywood depicts. I don't know. Did you know any gifted kids? What were they like? Were they bullied at school? Or were they well-respected?
Oh, and by the way, I write fiction here on Minds. If you enjoy plot twists, science fiction, and deep themes, check out my novella, Saving Ever After:
I've started a new series, The Eden Project, in which I explore themes of mass automation, political factionalization, and the concentration of power by multinational tech firms. If that sounds interesting to you, check out the first episode:
I've also written a full-length novel, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound, which you can download for free here:
You can also buy Red Eden: Homeworld Bound on Amazon:
Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Michael E. Vigil