Thursday, May 20, 2010

A sheltered potential

I was seriously intellectually sheltered as a kid. I was... gifted, so my parents made sure I never really knew that there could be limits on what a person was good at, could excel at. Academically, mentally, I never hit a brick wall as a child. Ever. No matter what task they set me, I just did it, because it never occurred to me that I might not be able to work my way through. It was never a question of can't. It was a question of do I have the time, and the motivation, to fight my way through on this problem, or is there another one I want to spend that time on?

Yeah, I was sheltered. I thought everyone was like me. I really, honestly believed that ANYONE could get themselves anywhere, academically speaking, if they just worked hard enough, tried hard and long enough. I thought that, as it was with me, that it was just a matter of effort. The concept of actually failing an exam, much less a course, boggled my mind.

I was such an idealist. And like all idealist, when I had to face how different the world was from the way I saw it, it hurt. It really, really hurt.

I had to face that not everyone is as smart or dedicated as the kids I grew up with, that not everyone can get to grad school or med school or law school if they just try hard enough. I had to face the fact that some people really are smarter (book-wise) than others, that it's not a matter of effort.

Maybe I care about people too much, but I've never gotten over how much it hurt to have that view of the human race shattered. Especially when breaking it involved watching best friends, respected colleagues, and the man I love beat their heads against classes that they just couldn't pass, no matter how hard they tried.

It reminds me of how different I am. And sometimes, I don't want to be different. Sometimes, I don't want to be better. I want everyone to have what I have. I want everyone to be able to do the things I take for granted. I want everyone to be able to see the beauty I see in an elegant equation, a precise experiment, a brilliant theory, a tantalizing hypothesis. I wish everyone could experience this beauty, instead of the frustration and fear of math and science that so many people have.

Is it so wrong to wish more beauty upon the world?

 I'm Tickled - Submit to

No comments:

Post a Comment