Every kid has their own strengths and talents. However, in school, some of us are singled out as being ‘gifted.’
This could mean a variety of things, from getting exceptionally good grades to having a unique way of thinking or understanding topics that aren’t seen in other students.
Often, when a student is labeled “gifted,” it is assumed they will be successful in later life.
However, Reddit has proven that this is not always the case.
Sometimes gifted students are successful but to a normal degree. They have the same careers and achievements as students who weren't labeled gifted. Other times, these students are not successful at all and being labeled “gifted” ended up damaging.
Curious about the results of this label, Redditor Lemon_m1lk asked:
“People who were “gifted” in elementary school: what are you doing in life now?”
A Real Job
"First comment I saw that was actually a job and not a chronic depression..."
"I work in biotech ensuring drugs are safe and make a great living, just paid off my house. I feel like Reddit isn’t the most balanced place to ask this question haha"
Life Of Academia
"I have a PhD and teach university. So never leaving academia?"
"I think this is the way I'm headed too. PhD in archaeology (I start next week) and couldn't be happier with my life choices."
"Same. It's usually a great gig, except I'm chair of my department now and have to be nice to people."
Science And Engineering, Of Course
"I'm a computer engineer and VP at my company. I worked at a successful startup and even had a co-op job at NASA in college."
"Senior software architect. Discovered I had a knack for programming my sophomore year in college many moons ago. Made a career out of it. :)"
A Working Brain
"Honestly, I’ve got a good life. Got a master’s degree and certification in a job that I find really rewarding and challenging."
"I still love to learn."
"I have a great relationship with my SO and a pretty cool kid."
"I’m still friends with some of my gifted buddies (despite living all over the US). And I would say we are pretty content with our lives."
Others didn’t achieve what everyone expected them to achieve.
"I can count your change like a motherf*cker though."
"I am VERY succesful in my menial job"
Done At 10
"I peaked in grade 5. It was a good ride while it lasted, tho."
"Omg, same here. I was put into an advanced sixth grade that required actual effort and it was downhill from there."
Trying To Figure It Out
"Winging it still at 37...."
"This hits too close... I too am 37. Whole family and friend group like "why aren't you super successful? You're so smart and charismatic!""
""Really wish I could tell y'all something that made sense...""
Such A Waste
"I am chronically unemployed and just generally a waste of space."
"You and me both. Chronic depression and various other mental health issues; I suspect my brain simply burned out."
"Not unemployed but I have a lot of anxiety and fear of failure. I only start things when I can guarantee success. For example, I’ve been wanting to learn Python but the fear of not doing well stops me every time"
Only Way Out Is Through
"Depressed, anxious, and agoraphobic. I flunked out of high school because the anxiety was too much for me to handle and later turned to drugs to cope. I finally got sober but life still sucks."
Some even pointed out that being called “gifted” or anything of the sort was damaging to students.
"I'm staying in school bc I don't believe I'll thrive anywhere else. So I'm getting degree after degree."
"I’ve never related to any comment more than this. School was a safe place with clear objectives (degrees) and a reliable method of accountability (grades). Would be a student for life if I could"
"Same. Now I’m 39 with only 7 years of job experience."
Or High Anxiety
"Having anxiety about change in my life"
"Huge mood. Being labelled as having “so much potential!!!!!1!!!” will set you up for striving to be good at even the most menial and brainless tasks, bc if you’re not competent…well!"
Special Gifted Classes
"They were still doing this as late as the mid 90s where I went. Fun at first until you realize you still had to cover what you missed. Eventually the policy changed to 1 day a week at a different school which was even worse because you never really bonded with anyone there."
"Gifted school was better except they assumed you were gifted at all subjects."
"I remember being taken out of class in the 70s too. In the third grade me and about 4 other kids were studying microbes and using microscopes. Then they repurposed the room we were using and they just quietly moved us into the corner of the regular classroom which I found embarrassing. We would have to whisper with the teacher but it just made the other kids want to know what we were doing over there. It was awkward and poorly executed."
And Missing Out On The Fun
"Dude. Me too. Taken out of my regular school to go hang out with nerds and miss pe. Which was our only chance for sports that I only cared about back then"
"yeah i was “gifted” enough to know more busywork was punishment for being “gifted”. i’ll take my recesses and classes with my friends thanks."
Recognition, validation, and facilitation can be extremely valuable for students, especially young ones.
However, it is more beneficial for these students to know it's okay to be who they are rather than being put into categories and gaining labels early in life.