Ramble about Being Smart

How would you respond when someone tell you, “You’re very smart”?

Personally, I don’t like that phrase. I find it kind of offensive and irksome. Also being smart is overrated. In today’s world, it is all about practicality rather than smarts. Being called smart makes me sound headstrong and stand out. I’m not that kind of person. I’m an introvert and an underdog and I prefer to be called practical over smart any day.  A-degree-doesnt-mean-youre-smart

That’s why I’ve disassociated myself from a classmate I befriended at the beginning of the year. She is someone who must be the best, anything less than that would make her sad. I remember last semester, she called me to tell me she’s sad that she got a B in a class. I would have been grateful because a B isn’t a bad grade but not her. She kept going on and on about how depressed she was. I stopped listening after 5 minutes until she pulled me back.

So feeling annoyed, I replied, “Well, so am I!” I’m taking a full load of classes while working two jobs while she’s only taking half-load and doesn’t have to work. I get 70s and low 80s on my exams. By her standards, shouldn’t I be like super depressed.

“But you’re very smart,” she said, “You still do well.” No, that’s not true. I don’t think I’m at all smart. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes. I’m not smart at all, I often think, I’m just trying to get through this (school, work, etc.) as quick as I can and I don’t cry or shut myself in my room when I don’t do well on a test if that’s what you mean. 

Currently, we are sharing one of the classes and last week was the first midterm. On Sunday, she texted me asked how I did. I didn’t know how to respond because I have a feeling she would how sad she was that she didn’t do as well as I did even though I really didn’t do that well. I turned to my mom for suggestion. “Go low,” she suggested.

Therefore, I took her suggestion and wrote, “Okay, wasn’t what I expected.”

She replied one line after that, “Sorry, anyway you’re very smart. Keep fighting.” Way to send the shiver of annoyance up my spine like the last hundred times she’d said it to me but at least she didn’t tell me how awful she did.

Honestly, I don’t know how to reply to that phrase, “you’re very smart” and personally, I don’t like it because if I was so smart, what am I doing still living with my mom?

39 thoughts on “Ramble about Being Smart

  1. I know what you mean. People say I am a talented writer, and I’m not. If I was a talented writer, I would have more reads on my story and be published by now. People also say I’m smart, but I feel like a dumbass. However, I also believe there is a lot of dumb people in the world. You are wise in the sense you recognize your flaws and don’t brag about your accomplishments.

    I know someone who is so far up her own ass she believes everyone should praise her. She has a BS degree and a Masters degree – I wouldn’t consider her smart.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello, I can relate to this post. It is difficult to respond when someone says ‘You are smart’ when we are still looking to solve our problems. When someone says ‘you are smart’ we feel sad because we know aren’t. If we think with common sense, a life lived in a simple manner is smartness.

    Have a good time. . 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I get what you mean.
    Tbh nobody smart I know is defined by high scores. Exams are so overweighted in the ‘West’ and there is a sickening pressure on kids and YA to do well.
    Sounds like youre doing great considering your work load ☺
    And being smart doesnt guarantee anything in this life. It seems well adjusted social types have it easiest.
    Intelligence can be very lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like maybe your friend is associating some arbitrary numbers with status. An intellectual Gucci handbag? In that case, probably not good — or especially useful. On a serious note, there were several campus suicides of students during my undergraduate years, nearly all Asian students under that kind of social pressure. Starts with SAT scores in high school, and it’s not healthy.

    Nothing wrong with being “smart,” intelligent, well-edumacated, whatever… However, it’s far more important to be perseverant, not quit or give up when things get difficult. Full load, technical major — long as I didn’t need to re-take a class, it was all good. And I wasn’t working. People forget why they’re bothering to be in school in the first place.

    But in response to your question… I’d say, “Why, thank you!” And then smile like an idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. She doesn’t sound very nice if she doesn’t consider you intelligent as her. Her getting better grades is only book smarts. I did well in university, but not in every class. And I remember in English classes and in History ones, often it was learning to write for the prof which got you better marks, Your first class with a prof wasn’t so good but after figuring out what they were looking for and what they liked to see in an essay for instance, it was not so bad. The same could not be said for science classes and french.

    But I had a friend who since she was young, pretty much got A plus or at least an A. I remember her crying and upset several times through out going to school with her, because she had an A- or a B+ marks, I was very happy to get. Sometimes it depended on the subject, what was an A or B. So if she got an 85 and it was only a B+ she was really upset. The rest of us rolled our eyes.

    Just do your best is all I can say. Figure out what your prof is looking for and if you can retake from a prof you didn’t mind do, because its more likely you will get a better mark knowing what they want. I am friends with this girl still, but real life is much different university. University gets you that first job and I know many friends who have gone for additional training at technical institutes, for certificates in their field or other types of designations. Learning doesn’t stop and neither does schooling :),

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not that she doesn’t consider me to be as intelligent as her, it’s just she likes to come out on top. It’s all about the competition with her and I am not into competition. That’s why I associate her as my classmate now instead of friend. For me, it’s all about getting it done because school costs money (a lot) and time is money and I don’t want to waste anymore than I need to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok. I understand that. You are right school is very expensive. Especially in the US. Sorry your ex-friend was so competitive and didn’t understand how you felt. Best of luck getting through as fast as you can Yinglan.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can do it 🙂 it’s hard in the end, you just want to be done. But keep up the hard work, it will be worth it when u get your degree 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What does it mean to be smart anyway? I think my english is still not good enough to understand that nuance; I thought it´s a synonym of inteligent, clever? On another note, I´m also still living with my parents and am slightly ashamed of it (I feel like a parasite) – what´s more, this past year I was even living here together with my husband! Omg, really, never thought I´d do that one day. But I finished my university this year, graduated in early july and soon will be off, hopefully. But I don´t think it has anything to do with being smart or not, does it? It´s more about having money and opportunities…isn´t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? What does it mean other than getting good grades in school?
      I get how you feel. At 25, with nearly two degrees, I’m still living with my mom, struggling with low-paying jobs. Money is just about the only thing keeping me from moving forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, you´re studying two degrees at once? I am happy that I´m over with my one and only master and have no plans to get any more formally educated any time soon. Perhaps some short courses or something in that way. As we plan to travel in the next months and years, I´m looking for some online job, but no luck just yet (=feeling like a failure), or hopefully will be able to get a teaching job somewhere abroad…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, I wish. 😀 I finished my first degree two years ago and will be done with the second one this year. Then I have no plans to get anymore education soon. I’ll be traveling next year, taking my current jobs with me, hopefully to provide me with a little income. I’m also hoping to find a job in another country. Good luck with your job search.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m actually going back to China hoping that with my mom’s vast connections, I can get a job at one of the big 4 accounting firms, the kind of firm that’s headquartered in the US and the pay’s not too shabby even overseas. Most importantly, I’m hoping to quit my bookkeeping and translation jobs.


  7. School smart is different from being “street smart”. where one knows how to survive alone in the streets. It has to do with common sense if a person is a street smart. Usually, school smart are those that can’t survive in an apocalypse! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. “Street smart”, that was the word I was looking for when I wrote this post but all I could come up with was practicality. Almost the same thing.


  8. She sounds like a very insecure person if she sees her worth on how well she does on exams and whether she makes high grades. Next time she asks you how you did on a test just tell her, “I did okay.” (Basically, it is none of her business). Your last line made me laugh. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I constantly feel like it’s my job to make her feel better. That is not a friend is for. I actually tried that exact line once with her. It didn’t work. She prodded on to ask me what is okay.


  9. Tests are overrated and not always indicative of what you’ll do in life. I think living with your mom is actually very smart. You have a great support structure, someone who loves you more than anything, and you are saving money! You’re not just smart. You’re super smart! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Anything you want to ask? Want to know?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s