How I Found Out I Wasn’t the Smartest Person Ever

When I was a little kid, I was a big nerd. You may be saying, “But, Steph, you are still a big nerd.” Well, you’re right, but I was an even bigger nerd as a kid.

I was also an Army brat and when I was in the third grade we were stationed in Virginia.

Now, I was smart and I knew I was smart cause I’d been in special classes for smart kids. When we moved to Virginia my parents upped the ante and sent me to a special school for smart kids.

I. Was. Pissed. Number one because my brother and all my friends and neighbors got to go to the regular school, number two because my bus ride was really long, but most importantly because I WASN’T THE SMARTEST KID ANYMORE. It was ridiculous.

I was used to getting the highest grades without even trying. Now you’ve got me here reading my Christopher Pike and these kids are devouring The Hobbit. I was out-nerded! I couldn’t stand it.


We switched classes, just like in high school. I hated that. The teachers all wore high heels. I really hated that. I had to do actual work. I really, really hated that.

I would like to tell you that I learned a lesson in how important hard work is and how I struggled to the top of my class and even became class president and made the teachers stop wearing such offensive footwear, but that would be a lie.

Instead I became depressed and cried everyday until my parents finally took pity on me and sent me back to public school where my academic excellence and lackadaisical study habits were received warmly with many ribbons and A+’s.

Don’t judge me. I was nine.*

*I’d do the same thing today.

Were you a nerdy kid? Did you ever feel like you got thrown into the deep end and couldn’t swim? For that matter, did anyone actually throw you in the deep end when you couldn’t swim? I’ve heard that’s a thing.

About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

49 responses to “How I Found Out I Wasn’t the Smartest Person Ever

  • Phil Taylor

    I think we all love to be the big fish in a small pond. I know I did too.

  • Mental Mama

    I got put in special schools starting in second grade. Nerds rock.

  • qwertygirl

    I was a nerdy kid, but I always felt like the dumbest one in the class. Turns out when you have ADD, it’s hard to focus and get your work done. Who knew? Because we didn’t have ADD–we had “kids who don’t apply themselves” or “kids who won’t concentrate.” Guess what I heard for the elventy-billion years it took me to get the hell out of school?

  • Jess

    My mom was told when i was in Gifted and Talented that the teacher wished i could draw my assignments. It wasnt a compliment. :I

  • Michelle

    My baby boy was a big fish in a little pond until we moved here and he was also no longer the smartest kid in school…that chafed him for a while, but he got over it.

  • uniquelymeme

    I wish I was smart!! I was just considered a nerd because I wore glasses. A shame! and I literaly got thrown into the deep end (of the pool) and almost drowned when I was 7. But now I am the best swimmer ever! πŸ™‚

  • Scott

    I doubt I was ever the smartest kid in class, but I was up there. Sadly, though, I couldn’t be bothered to do the work and didn’t care.

  • stef

    Oh, yes. Yesssss. I was a straight A public school nerd myself, though I also did great at a private school for a few years, too, even with that super-strict missionary/teacher who could not FATHOM how I could sit there in the front row with Bourdeaux Cherry nail polish on my fingers. Shameless.

    I was convinced at that age that, yes, I WAS in fact the smartest kid ever in the history of kids. Also possibly the fastest. And the strongest.

    Ahhh…to be 9 again.

  • The Hopeful Herbalist

    No we weren’t thrown in but the swimming pool was open air on the shore. April in Scotland is NOT warm. I used to turn blue and be fished back out 😨

  • Spoken Like A True Nut

    My school offered to skip me a grade but my mother thought I should be with kids my own age. That was fine with me because I would’ve been bullied either way but at least this way I still got to feel superior about something.

  • Aussa Lorens

    I was the worst student ever. Starting in about 5th grade, I realized I could just never do homework, ace the tests, and still pass. I got C’s in everything. But I had a lot more free time than the kids who did their homework. Haaaa

  • tiredwife

    This is my daughter. 6th grade—straight A’s. Received awards for being at the top of her class, special honors, teachers pet, all of that. Moved into Gifted And Talented in 7th grade, suddenly, there are kids there doing as well as she is. Some…even better! Then it became “homework? What homework. I don’t have any homework”. and D’s and F’s. I have offered to take her out of the gifted and talented and put her back into general population (that’s what my husband calls it) but she doesn’t want to. she wants to be a smart kid. she just doesn’t want to have to do anything anymore.

    • Steph

      Oh, jeez, I’ve been there. I hope she sticks it out and shows more oomph than I did. I sometimes think about what I could have done with my smarts before I killed all my brain cells, but I guess I am where I am supposed to be.

  • Tempest Rose

    Oh how happy I am that my parents decided not to have me skip a grade.

  • Just Plain Ol' Vic

    I was a nerdy kid, wore glasses at a young age, Asian to boot but I have always sucked at math…..go figure?!

    I didn’t get good grades in school until college and graduate school. Paying for the classes did wonder to my motivation.

  • tantie77

    I was a devote non-achiever in my grade school/high school days. When I started college, I was astonished to discover that I could actually do quite well. So there I was, feeling all genius at the community college, graduating on the dean’s list and all that, and I decided that I should totally go to an actual big-kid 4 year college, since I was way smarter than I thought. Five minutes into my first class as an English major at a 4 year school, I realized I was a total moron. I damn near ran screaming from that classroom. Luckily, I stuck around and figured out the trick to sounding like a know-it-all English major and ended up doing fairly well. I was rather devastated that my GPA went from 3.95 to 3.59, but I still ended up graduating some kind of laude or whatever, so yay and all that. Aaaaaand now I work retail….but that’s a whole ‘nother story…

  • Jana

    My daughter had this same experience – she went from a regular, rather crappy school to a magnet school where everyone was brilliant. She stuck with it and, while she wasn’t the smartest person in school, she was smart enough to get a full ride college scholarship and then later made it into Harvard for law school. Me, on the other hand, NEVER had this type of problem – I was firmly in the 3.0-3.5 GPA throughout high school.

  • meyerslaura

    In high school I was top of my class, straight As, even valedictorian. The day I got to college and realized I wasn’t the smartest girl in the room, and worse, that grades aren’t the only thing that matters… Dude, it sucked. But I’m glad I stopped thinking I was Steve Jobs because I was probably rubbing some people the wrong way…

    • Steph

      That’s one way to do it, lol. By the time I got to high school, I was skating by, definitely not the smartest and definitely not the best grades. I’m picturing my little know-it-all self now and wondering how I didn’t get beat up.

  • merbear74

    I loved Christopher Pike!!!!!!!!!!

  • LVital7019

    When I was 4 I learned how to swim at little-kid camp. As we were all going down the steps in the SHALLOW END of the pool, some hyperactive brat managed to shove me off the bottom step. My head barely stayed above water. I was choking and almost drowned. Yes, I was standing UP. :/
    I also wound up in some Advanced Placement programming class in my Junior year of HS. That was baffling since I am SO not a math-nerd. I tapped out after managing to write one whole if/then program.

  • bethteliho

    I’ve never felt like the smartest person anywhere, ever. I’m a middle-of-the-road gal. I don’t fail, but I don’t win either. It’s comfy here. I like it. πŸ™‚

    • Steph

      That must be nice. I went from feeling super smart to feeling super dumb. Now I half the time can’t remember my own name, CANNOT help with 6th grade homework, and barely leave the house with my shoes on. Ohhh, the good ole days.

  • AmberLynn Pappas

    I was the smart kid in the class in elementary school and would have loved to go somewhere where they would have challenged me. I spent a lot of time being bored in school and not doing homework because I could pass the test without it. However, schools like busy work like homework and my grades didn’t just reflect my amazing test taking ability. Thank god for Graduate School! I would go for my PhD and more if my kids didn’t need to eat….

    I’m sorry your experience wasn’t so great. I think you’re super smart!

  • Katy Bug

    I was one of those smart kids in elementary school. I caught on quickly and rarely had to study. Then, when I started taking advanced classes in junior high and high school, I realized that I had to actually study and do honest to goodness work to maintain good grades. I HATED IT SO MUCH.

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