I remember when moving from second to third grade, I got put in the Honors Program. You might have heard of this, you might have been in it, or you might not have a single clue on what I’m talking about. The honors program at my elementary school would have you take a test in second grade, and depending on your score move you into the honors class. If you didn’t score high enough you were kept in ‘normal’ classes. This program would keep you in honor classes all the way through elementary school and until the end of middle school.
I remember my friends and me at the time getting into the honors program. My parents were proud of me and told me that I was smart and special and would go on to become a doctor or lawyer. When my sister was my age she didn’t get into the honors program and my parents compared her to me all the time and I believed that I was better than kids in regular classes, even though all that was different was that I was learning not to push myself.
In middle school, I was in honors classes the entire time. In my three years of middle school, I was in the same classes with the same people for all three years. Half of the people in those classes, I knew from elementary school. Nothing was memorable for me other than the fact that I still thought I was better than other kids, who weren’t in honor classes.
My first year of high school was entirely online. I struggled entirely with each of my classes, relearning how to study, how to manage my time, how to think. Gifted child burnout is something that I am experiencing and something I believe many classmates in my school are experiencing. “Spiralling is the act of falling into a pessimistic train of thought that feeds back into itself causing you to feel worse and worse. It can be triggered by a variety of causes, slowly exhausting your mental well-being.”(infographic) This is the beginning of gifted child burnout. Other signs may include, but are not limited to: fear of failure, disengaging from favorite interests, experiencing frequent anxiety, withdrawing from friends and family, being overwhelmed by small setbacks, feeling unmotivated to complete assignments and social obligations, a sense of hopelessness towards their future, and more.
Though I appreciate and love my friends, sometimes I feel like I can’t even talk to them without feeling exhausted. I love baking, watching anime, and drawing. Some of my favorite memories include making bread and while it’s baking, wrapping myself in my blanket and watching my favorite shows. Now it’s been months since I’ve done that. I feel like if I can’t complete one school assignment I’ll become a failure and to not succeed is terrifying.
As of writing this now, I have completed two months of my second year of high school. This year I am taking zero AP classes, as I chose to opt-out of AP European History. Why? Last year, in AP human geography even through the screen, there was a competitive urge to do better than everyone else. There was constant stress from taking an AP class, due to the end of the year exam, and even when we weren’t doing anything it still felt like too much. With AP classes there is an enormous amount of material to cover and is done so quickly and sometimes superficially. “The impression made on [me] is fleeting.” I love history, but last year we didn’t explore anything. In that AP class, there was just constant note-taking and constant memorization. With it, I felt my passion for history lessen. While others may have had a different experience, this was mine.
I feel like so much of my worth is placed on academic validation that besides getting an A in each class I don’t have anything else. Being stuck with the same people for eight years of life and not doing much to connect with them, left me with less emotional intelligence than those who didn’t have the gifted label stuck on them at a young age.
The gifted label is one that sticks with you for your entire life.
One thought on “Gifted Children”
This was very well done. Thank you.