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How Smart Are You? Depends on Your Expectations

smart-person  I can think of three people who had trouble learning in school who went on to do something with their lives.  One became an aircraft mechanic and successfully went to school to be certified as one.  Not only did he graduate from the two year program, he went on to learn how to work on many different complicated aircraft that were developed during his career.  Another man was considered to be “dumb” when he was in school, but went on to successfully make a living and have a family just like everybody else.  A girl who had learning problems when she began school went on to college where she got an “A” in organic chemistry and then was accepted in a graduate masters program.  No, no mistakes were made.  These people’s abilities could have been seriously underestimated.

Different classes in the same grade in one school had different IQ test results given to their teachers.  These were not the real results and the classes weren’t really any smarter even though their teachers were told so.  Real results at the end of the year for students whose teachers who expected their students to be smarter were higher than they had been at the beginning of the year.  I, for one was told, I would never get higher than a “B” in college and I didn’t live up to that person’s expectations.  I never got lower than a “B” in college.  You need to believe in yourself or to have someone who believes in you and lets you know it.

How smart are you if you don’t do well in school or if you don’t have an education. There are stories about famous people who did “poorly” in school as children and went on to make famous discoveries.  Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Abraham Lincoln are some such people.  Many times people are self-limiting; because they too easily accept others negative judgments of their abilities as accurate and resign themselves to be failures in life.  It is what you believe or what your caregivers believe that can have a lot to do with what you actually do in life.  This can even be true of people who are developmentally disabled especially in the past.  People who had a child with such problems were often told that their child should be institutionalized and forgotten about as nothing could be done with them and nothing could be done about their problems.  Seriously some people are born with serious deficiencies that can’t be corrected and don’t have a long life expectancy.  Often these people will never be able to take care of themselves or to meet their own needs no matter how basic.  For example, they never be able to feed themselves or communicate in any way.  I have seen them.  They need a great deal of care 24/7.  I also have counseled parents who underestimated what their developmentally disabled child could do and who lived with some unacceptable behavior that their child could actually control.

How smart are you when others have low goals set for you.  You may be capable of doing much more if you put your mind to it.

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Planning Your Education, Things I wish I had known

Graduate School of Education Diploma Ceremony

If you have an idea of a field that you would like to go into or are looking at graduate schools or post-graduate experiences, you should consider certain things.  Be sure as an undergraduate that the educational experiences offered in areas that you might want to major in are good ones.  Be sure that the school, if possible, is a good fit for you.  I got financial aid to go to a small private religious college that had a good academic reputation.  I was comfortable there because I had grown up in a rural area near a small town.  Of course the college was bigger than my high school; but it was not so big as to feel unfriendly.  As a christian school, it did not have a reputation as a party school and sororities while active did not isolate themselves in houses, but lived in the dorms with everybody else.  While no degrees were offered besides a bachelors, it had a very active psychology department which offered practical experiences.  Sometimes schools with graduate programs do not offer good experiences for undergraduates and the classes are often taught by graduate students.

Choosing a graduate school is very important, not only do you want one that has a good reputation in the field you will be studying, but also it should offer studies that will be meaningful to you and that you will like participating in.  In schools with a major professor system and/or offering research assistant positions to help you finance your education, you should investigate and see what kind of research is being done at that school and if you would be comfortable doing that type of research.  People often do their masters thesis in an area of research that their major professor is involved in.  It is not a good introduction to doing work in your field if you don’t like what you are doing or if you are not very talented at making new discoveries in that field of research.

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