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    Joined: Aug 2023
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    Hey, just some background: My screen name is Mouchette (it's a pretentious reference to some obscure piece of internet art lmao) and I'm 15 years old; blah blah blah.

    I absolutely hate the "gifted" label. If you go to any of the depression subs (r/2me_irl4meirl, r/trollcoping, or just plain old r/depression) you'll inevitably run into the "burnt out gifted kid" trope being expressed through memes and rants of all kinds. It's a whole-ass phenomenon.

    I think the main problem is the "Fixed mindset vs. Growth mindset" thing. Hierarchical societies usually end up giving you a "fixed mindset" by osmosis, but gifted kids are especially vulnerable due to social pressures from peers, teachers, and parents.

    For me, my mom actively /cultivated/ a fixed mindset by completely focusing on extrinsic motivation only. Everything was about education, education, education: but only in relation to school. There was (is?) a whole host of other issues that I don't want to talk about on a random forum.

    I think I'm too old to keep blaming my mom for all my behavior so I'm finally taking a stand against her. It sucks. I've lived in the same place my whole life so everybody only knows me for the weird stuff I did as a kid and basically just treats me like a novelty item.

    The more my mom obsesses over GPA, the less will I have to do anything school-related. Probably reverse psychology. I used to rebel against her by just shooting myself in the foot and being... absolutely horrible, but I don't want that anymore. I've realized that I have the actual free will to do things. Life isn't just compromising with suffering.

    I mean, I've just reframed it so I can survive for the next two years.

    Me want learn ---> me learn things (in school) ---> high GPA (makes mom happy)

    I'm also trying to covertly set myself up to follow my childhood dream of being an astrophysicist, no matter how unlikely that's gonna be.

    It's also really nasty about how my parents constantly moan about my "wasted potential". Just because I'm not #1 in the class doesn't mean my life isn't worth something, OK? It's just numbers.

    tl;dr: the "gifted" label can be useful in early ed to provide access to accelerated education but is completely meaningless otherwise. Intentional care must be taken to not cause the kid psychological issues. It's like constantly calling a child star "beautiful"... it's a compliment, but it'll lead to undue mental emphasis on the trait (and others' perception of the trait). Have you seen Britney Spears? She's a mess.

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    Welcome, mouchette!

    First, I applaud you for having realized that, at some point, the mature adult (or maturing developing adult :)) needs to move on from making decisions as a reaction to circumstances imposed by one's past or by others, and start considering one's own long-term values, goals and health. Living reactively simply abdicates power and responsibility over one's own life to others--typically the very persons whose influence one wishes to leave. Plenty of allegedly mature, allegedly adult persons have not had this epiphany.

    And, as you note, the K-12 experience is time-limited, and a much smaller percentage of a typical lifespan than it may feel like while one is going through it.

    FWIW, I have met a number of persons around your age in my professional capacity who are in similar situations, either in their perception of expectations, or in the actual expectations of their adult caregivers. Sometimes the label has value for early access to resources and nothing else, but sometimes the label also has value in identifying the source of internally-generated pressure. (And in the case of twice exceptional learners, the label can be an important counter to the labels of failure or disability that the individual may have acquired or self-imposed previously.) Whatever the case, labels become problematic when they subsume the identity of the person; no individual can be wholly described by a single dimension of their development.

    As someone who was a gifted child, grew up with gifted children, has raised gifted children, and works professionally with students including gifted learners (usually twice exceptional), I am entirely sympathetic to your experience. I had the benefit of parents who did not believe that my IQ or GPA was the sum total of my value, but I definitely had peers whose experience was more like yours. And yes, one's reputation follows one rather closely in a limited community, for good or ill. (Sometimes it's not even your own reputation. I have a substantially more gifted older sibling--try receiving this backhanded compliment: "You're surprisingly normal for a (member of your family)!")

    But I do want to emphasize the optimistic outlook I see for you, because you are learning to transcend the messaging that you've absorbed over the years, by looking around at other perspectives, and thinking deeply for yourself about where and why learning occurs, about who you are, and about where your value resides (hint: the value of a human is not in their intelligence, accomplishment, or--please!--earnings, but in their ideals, their internal sense of joy, peace and beauty, in their relationships with others...in their unique and unrepeatable presence in the universe). Moving forward, however others interpret your behavior (e.g., as compliance to their authority, as rebellion, as something in-between), you will know that you are making thoughtful choices that respond--not react--to your own values and goals in life.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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