Actually Ashley,  Blog

Honorable Mention

My friends and I have a theory that we are complete and total idiots. It’s not confirmed, but we have some pretty convincing evidence. We are all in the esteemed “Honors” program at our college but we often find ourselves wondering how we could be considered among the best and brightest. So one night, probably after one of us had said something like, “Is Orlando Bloom a real person?” or “Which Pirates of the Caribbean is the one where they are on the boat?” (“Seriously, we have a whole wall filled with quotes like these), we came to the only possible conclusion: Everything we have ever known is a lie. We concluded that my fellow perpetually anxious over-achievers and I are actually the least common denominator but no one has the heart to tell us the extent of our own hopelessness, so they call us “gifted” or some other patronizing title.

If this seems unlikely to you, then you have clearly never met any of us. This may very well be the case because they do a pretty good job keeping us isolated in our own little Honors bubble. After all, Honors roommates + Honors classmates = Honors friends. This is probably only for your own protection because we are not too good with the socializing. We use the excuse that we are more used to books than actual people but it’s probably actually that we are too inane to communicate effectively with a normal human being. The rest of you seem to be aware that we are such tragic cases because any time one of us does manage to venture outside of our bubble, the mention of Honors is always met with the same look of both pity and disgust. I always thought it was because the word sounded pretentious. But now I see the truth that you all knew all along.

Even the academic side fits into to this hypothesis. They give us hours and hours of reading assignments to complete and then expect us to discuss them in class. But here’s the twist: the readings are nonsense. Sure, we may think we are learning from the writings of the greatest philosophers to ever live, but our experiences would say otherwise. We spend every waking moment fruitlessly struggling to understand hundreds of pages, only to close the book and have no idea what we were just reading about. And then we go to class, put forth an explanation which we do not even think is coherent, and then the Professor applauds and gives us all gold stars. We walk out of class thinking, “I guess I understood that better than I thought I did.” But no, none of us actually understands any of it because we are the “special ones” who the teachers must encourage in order to protect our fragile egos. 

This may sound like a twisted conspiracy theory but it’s the only thing that makes sense. It’s the only way I can explain why those who are considered “elite” are normally the ones with the biggest deficiencies. Just because someone thinks you are smart, does not give you the right to walk around thinking you are better than anyone else. My friends and I have the most fun when we are being stupid. And while we spend a lot of time stressing over the assessments of professors and peers, we are most ourselves when we can forget about any expectations or standards. These are the moments that make life worth living. Because when it comes down to it, we are all pretty stupid in one way or another, so we might as well embrace it instead of being ashamed. And sure, it’s nice to get an A on a test or be praised by an authority figure, but there are many different kinds of intelligence. And in my opinion, living with an attitude of superiority is just plain dumb.

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