Letters to my Younger Self: “Smart”

When I first arrived at La Fiesta Tech, one of the first things I realized was that everyone there could easily be described as “smart”.

“But dogs don’t see people as being ‘smart’ or ‘dumb’, right?” I ask the dog that decided to take a stroll to my new house in Riverblossom Hills.

He doesn’t make any noise in reply, and instead opts for pushing the stick closer to me.

“Fifth grade,” I whisper quietly as I pet the soft fur on his head. “That was the year it all started.”

Fifth grade was a memorable year- we were the oldest kids in the school, there were a ton of field trips, and, most importantly, I finally had friends in my grade. But the most memorable thing? The amount of division based on how good we were at certain subjects. I can recall two distinct cases of this: academics and orchestra.

On one of the first days of the school year, every student in the four fifth-grade classes was assigned to a group; these groups, as it turned out, were formed according to how well we did in academics. I was sad that my best friend at the time was not in my group; some of my other classmates were wondering how the groupings were determined. Were they randomized? Or was there some sort of similarity between the students in each group that we hadn’t yet noticed?

A couple months, a few things learned, and some new friends later, a very similar situation arose. This time, the orchestra teacher at my school had decided that I was “too advanced” for the lesson group that I had been placed in originally. Clever, prodigious, and downright frightening gateway kids made up the group she wanted me to join. Once again, I said good-bye to the friends I had made in my old group and hoped that the kids in the new one would treat me kindly, even though I knew I wasn’t one of their kind.

I guess now I’m a part of “their kind”. I mean, I graduated from a college full of intellectual elites, for Pete’s sake! And I’m certainly not stupid, even though everyone likes to think I am. But that’s just my life.


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