I regularly get questions from students that don’t give themselves enough credit. This was a particularly depressing one that I got and shortened significantly for this post:
I just can’t ever seem to get my grades up. I try focusing more but I just can’t seem to get it. It all seems too tough. I’ve always been a little dumber than my classmates. I’m a little stupid. If I’m not studying for hours at a time then I straight up fail. Am I in a hopeless spot?
-Daniel (name was changed.)
Whenever someone insults their own intelligence I tend to believe they’re like the pretty girl talking about how ugly they are. They’re either crazy (we all get that way sometimes) or fishin’ for a compliment. It’s probably mostly insecurity.
Stupid people rarely know they’re stupid. When they do know that, it’s usually impossible to miss. Considering the email was not a grammatical and conceptual mess, I know the writer is full of s**t.
For the record, I’m only using the word stupid because it came up in the email. There are more polite words but they might not hit the nail on the head quite as clearly.
Intelligence is a factor. Some people are naturally gifted. Some people are naturally not so gifted. Beyond the extreme ends, this makes very little difference to a person’s success academically and in life. Plenty of low intelligence people get great grades. Plenty of high intelligence people get crap grades. There are way too many other factors playing a role in this.
Do not blame grades on your level of intelligence. That’s just taking a factor you have control over and blaming genetics for it. Now… I get it can be tough but shirking responsibility won’t help.
What’s The Real Problem
This is a email diagnosis so forgive me if it’s incorrect but after reading the email I feel like the problem is poking out a little. It may not be the case but it’s definitely worth considering.
If school has been a struggle for as long as you make it sound then it’s likely you’re running into the wall of having to catch up on previous problems. Missing (or even not paying attention during) a few vital weeks in school could end up having consequences until you find those missing pieces.
(I didn’t post part of the email where a few relevant factors were mentioned.)
Finding where you need this help is challenging. There is really no quick way to do this. I’d recommend getting a tutor to help. I’m not a major fan of tutoring in most situations but when a student is missing something important it can take individualized attention to diagnose accurately. They can see the areas where you make mistakes and help correct those spots.
Where Else It Could Be
Confidence is a huge factor in a person’s ability to learn. There is no way around it. A person that thinks they’re good at learning will do better than a person that thinks they suck at it. There are a lot of factors that can come into play with this factor. Ultimately though, you have to decide how you choose to think about yourself daily.
I can’t tell you what the problem is with any level of confidence but I’d be willing to bet the problem is not your level of intelligence.
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