Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Et pourtant tu es très intelligente

Today I went to college as usual; during this semester Mondays are going to be a day off. YAY… well bla who cares anyway. So I went to college today and I had lots and lots of things to do, inno I only had one Lab Work for 2 hours but I had to work with my binôme in the memoir I and we both had to “find” the professor in charge of our memoir to talk to her (beg her) for some guidance. And the mayhem started. But it wasn’t such a big deal, we managed and we eventually did talk to each other and to her, blablabla.

At a certain time my binôme and her friend went to talk to the chef de département and ask her about their grades, out of 3 they were able to dig out 2. My binôme succeeded in both and her friend in one. No big deal the result was positive. I naturally was inside with them, so they naturally asked me about my file number to see my grade and I was like “No I don’t want to see it!”

What a coward, right? Yes I am a coward, but it isn’t the stupid grade that I fear, I already proved my cowardice, I already failed myself when I failed to study as much as I wanted to, before the exam. But that’s not it! NO… you know that strawberry that always garnishes the cake on top? The one Tom and Jerry always fight for? Well, my strawberry was that the Microbiology Professor (someone I admire dearly) came to me in a friendly way and asked me how I had done in her exam. Naturally I should be the one asking her, but she corrects them anonymously and she is in theory not allowed to check them until the results are already announced, and she didn’t even finish correcting them, so she doesn’t know my result.

I was both touched (by her approach) and embarrassed with the answer I had to give:

“Um… No I didn’t do well”

That’s where the inevitable “why?” comes in and I wear my eternal “smile” to avoid the answer, I confess that I didn’t study and they give another inevitable “why?”, again I smile and I spit that poisonous sentence:

“I never do well… Because I don’t study well… Because I don’t concentrate enough”

I am so fucking sick of hearing these same questions and giving these same answers. Most of the times these same answers are followed with a friendly sad grimace and most of the times a lecture comes next about how I shouldn’t be like this and stuff like that.

But this time there were a little twist in all this. She did give me the pity look, but she also added something else:

“Et pourtant tu es très intelligente”

Eh oui she said it in French, even though she had her PhD in Canada using the English language and taught and worked for years in Canada, her Lebanese blood still views French as the one and only second language… Vive la francophonie, je crois! (btw the sentence means: But you are very intelligent)

Anyway, what touched me was the fact that she meant it. She often complimented me on my intelligence and my passion for Microbiology in Lab, and she often admired my ability to understand and assimilate any concept without explanation. She even promised me and attestation if I get a good grade in her exam… FUCK EXAMS!!! I wanted to get a good grade, I swear to GOD I wanted to, I studied for while, but there’s something inside me that refuses to do the right thing for long enough. Of course I had problems and stress, but that’s no excuse, I wanted my chance in this world and I wanted some talent of mine to be recognized and I failed.

I guess she saw that sense of failure, she joked with me about it, and for a few times she repeated:

“et pourtant tu es intelligente”

And it fucking hurts! This is the same thing my biochemistry Professor said when he gave my Lab grade a couple of months ago, the famous “why?” the famous “I didn’t study”. That guy was also compassionate and sensed my helplessness; he just joked about it and told me that I am smart.

Shit! How do they see me smart?! I don’t see myself as smart! A smart person would study to succeed… I didn’t do that. I don’t recognize the intelligence they see in me. Everything I know is from what I have read over the years, yes I am good and assembling ideas and coming up with adequate conclusion and yes I am very passionate about individual work (hell the smell of paper as I am manipulating one of those huge reference books gives me a delicious chill in my back). But what’s smart about that? Anyone can do that in the end, but what a few can do is persistence and studying the right thing at the right time.

Sometimes I even wonder if I don’t throw myself on reading just to escape my academic failure?


NOMAD said...

et pourtant tu es intelligente :lol:

may-be she ment an extra-scholarship intelligence, that what my teachers used to tell me too, brillant when she wants, but unfortunately doesn't take interest in evry matters ;
my second "artist" son got about the same appreciations ; you need to find out what is your path, then you'll get the masterhood of your talents :lol:

Jos said...

"Et pourtant tu es intelligente"

For me, that's the most important thing to know. Grades are going to stay on papers, the intelligence in you is gonna stay with you as long as you live, coz it's something in you. I know it's something important, but 'grades' (at school,univ,etc) - for me - were never what makes a person. A person can't be labeled by numbers, or scores or whatever. I defy any person from your class, who has high scores, to write two sentences each day, the way you do, and in your special style, and I'd be glad to grade that person myself :D

programmer craig said...

Pazuzu, I agree with Jos. I know a lot of people who have advanced degrees and got good grades in school, who aren't particularly bright. They accomplished those things by studying hard and by memorizing answers and using all the other little tricks people use to compensate for lack of natural intelligence. None of them are at the top in my field (software development) or anywhere near it. You can't study for the real world, you either have talent and intelligence or you don't.

I'd say natural intelligence is far more important than doing well in school. And if people are telling you that they perceive you as being a smart person, then you probably are :)

bsharp said...

I agree more with Nomad. Intelligence is a quality which can help you succeed and advance but it isn't the only one and might not even be the most important one. Anyway, what good is advancement and progress if you are on the wrong path, one which makes you unhappy.

College is a ridiculous place where people don't really DO anything but engage in practice exercises and gain knowledge which may or may not be useful one day. Driving yourself crazy over grades is enough to make anyone give up and eventually most do.

So, I know I said this before but...GRADUATE! Just do that. Your actual grades won't matter once you get that diploma which will open doors. Then, as Nomad says, find your path. The right path will inspire you and hold your attention as college test studying does not. At least that's how it was for me.