I must admit: I have been a little reluctant to write a new entry in this journal for several days now because every time I logged into Movable Type, I saw that the number of entries was listed as “666” and it was just too cool to ruin. At last, I reached a compromise: take a screen shot of the view and then begin writing again.
So I’ve been hearing from some people lately certain little things like “I’m too smart” or “I know too much.” This is the kind of stuff I get at school all the time, or from my little sister.
I’ve learned to shrug it off, because I know that I work hard at learning both inside and outside of school, and I enjoy knowing about lots of different topics. I also enjoy having intelligent discussions with other people who enjoy learning, because this gives me the opportunity to expand my own knowledge and exercise my reasoning skills in debating issues with them. This is part of why I get along with a lot of my teachers so well: I’m always coming up after class or during office hours to ask questions and discuss the material in a genuinely involved way, not just “I’ve missed a bunch of classes and haven’t read the material closely so I’m failing and I need your help to make it all better!” type of begging.
I can admit it freely to myself and others: I’m a total geek when it comes to academia. When given enough free rein, I love writing research papers. I get excited reading my textbooks and going to class. I go to lectures outside of my classes just for fun. If I enjoy a class, I’ll read all of the optional and recommended reading, hunt down more material on the points that interest me, complete all of the optional homework assignments and so on. Part of this is just an achievement-oriented strategy for school, because I’m making the most out of my education and giving myself a strong foundation for graduate school, but part of it is just for my own entertainment. I don’t feel ashamed of myself for being this way, or think that there’s anything wrong with me.
Sometimes I make friends who enjoy school and/or learning just as much as I do, who I can share these exciting new ideas with and talk to about school. Mac’s one of them; I caught him online last night, and we talked about the technological advances of video games anticipated this year. Most of my other friends may not be the knowledge-fiends I am, but they generally have at least one area that they’re very interested in and consequently know a good deal about. Although their knowledge may be more specific, I can still have intelligent discussions/debates with them as long as it’s within their area(s) of expertise, and that’s when I usually end up learning a lot because by having a more limited focus they have more information on that particular topic.
Anyways, back to the topic of people insulting my personal knowledge. As I said before, when it’s comments from classmates who I don’t know well or my sister just being annoyed with me, I’ve learned to take these sorts of criticisms about being “a brain.” It helps a little that the names I was called during my childhood, like smarty-pants and four-eyes, I haven’t heard in years. But when it’s my so-called friends who are telling me that I’m too smart, that stings.
Most of it has been subtle. I admit it, I do have a pet peeve about misinformation and I do correct people a little too often sometimes when they make glaring mistakes, and it’s understandable that others react with annoyance to this. On the other hand, I know that misinformation and ignorance can be very dangerous, so it’s hard to resist. I know that not everyone has taken this class or read that book so they can’t be expected to know everything I do, but what good is my knowledge if I can’t share it with other people? Do I have to keep all the Secrets of the University to myself? Yet I get negative reactions for pointing out, for example, that there is not any scientific evidence for the existence of “true” altruism by the standard ideal, despite the enormous amount of research that has been done on the topic; things like “don’t believe everything you read” or “science is bogus” or “I don’t care, I have my opinion” or even “shut up, we didn’t ask you for a lecture.”
The most disturbing comment that I have received was the remark, “You need to quit school. You already know everything.” I cannot go into how angry this makes me feel. As if the school was responsible for my behavior–!
It seems like I am always either told I am too quiet and do not speak enough, or I talk too much about “school” or “bragging about my brains.” Often these remarks come from the same people on differing occasions. I want people to realize that this is who I am, what I am interested in, and what I talk about. Anyone who actually wants to be considered my friend should either stop finding reasons to be annoyed by what I say or put up with me not talking. I will not change, especially not to give up what I have worked hard for and feel very attached to, because people insult me.