Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things." -Byron Dorgan
I started writing this topic later than usual because I really wasn't sure what direction to take the topic. On a normal occurrence, my students ask me what I got my degree in. Like a stuck up snob, I respond "which one?". Most of the students assume because I am young, I am still in school getting my masters degree and they don't realize I'm a full-time professional. It's not their fault, the director position at Piedmont is new and they don't understand the difference between a resident director and a director of residential living. They sound the same, thus they are easily mixed up.
It always amazes me, however, that when I tell them that I've gotten a masters degree in College Student Personnel and a bachelor's degree in Biology, nine times out of ten, they say something like, "Wow! Biology, you must be very smart!" I appreciate the compliment, but it fascinates me to think that they aren't impressed by the masters degree. I really think it is because it is something they don't understand. Most students have taken Biology, most students understand the concept of "science", ever since a young age, we have been taking science classes that continue to build upon themselves with other types of math, theoretical thinking, and problem solving. By no means am I saying my math classes were easy, far from it, I'm just saying by definition a masters program should be more difficult (and it was in many aspects).
In a bachelor's program, you find the answer to a question given to you, in your masters program, you also have to find what question you want to ask. Sometimes the question itself can be harder than the actual solution. Instead of asking, "why can I not see the emperor's clothes", we learn to ask, "why is the emperor strolling down main street thinking he has clothes on!" It's all about the angle in which you look at something. I think most people assume my masters program was easy because they don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes. I was meeting with a student the other day and after talking for a little while, they opened up to me and shared some really personal information and I helped them get to the point they needed to be. Throughout the entire conversation, the same question was coming up, "why am I telling you all of this?" It's because I've been trained. Student development is a remarkable field and you can work wonders, I know my school has helped me, but sometimes I wish students would realize the job isn't just about fun programs or rooming assignment, it's about the student. "Smart" is a fluid concept. "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go its whole life thinking it is stupid." When people think of "smart" people, images of Einstein or similar characters come to mind. By no means am I saying they aren't smart, but if they were judged by their ability to paint a picture, they would probably fail.
Find that aspect in your life that you love to do and master this ability! "Being smart" is just a social construct, there is no one on this planet (except for maybe babies) who aren't good at something. You might not be the best in that field, but you have knowledge about the subject and that makes you smart in it! Never have someone look down upon you because they don't understand this ability. Find your own version of quantum mechanics or theory of relativity and own it!
Question time: What is your "smart factor"?
About the video: Just because these individuals can't do 5th grade math, I don't think they're stupid. In fact I tried the problems with them and only got about half of them correct without the help of a calculator. Are 5th graders smarter than adults? In some cases they are, but in many cases, they aren't, they might just think they are :)