[box options]This is a guest post by an amazing writer, actress… and wife! The fantastic Sarah Zahn is an avid learner and Mindy Kaling fan. She likes coffee, fun writing games, and bags of Doritos. She’s also the founder of Sugared Beauty, LLC, a line of skincare made with organic ingredients. Follow her adventures here: @SugaredBeauty.[/box]
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy learning. Like being from a small town in the Midwest, learning stuff and getting good grades just seemed like my lot in life. This didn’t exactly grant me a lot of friends in school. In 7th grade I remember a kid in my class introducing me to the cute new boy as a brownie. I’m ashamed to admit I thought it was a compliment.
As a result of this and other name-calling incidents, some of the first interpersonal relationship lessons I heard from my mom was that I should “get a sense of humor” and “bury the hatchet.”
I am still figuring out how to do this.
It’s not that I was any smarter than anyone else, I just got a kick out of learning things. Throughout grade school I would toe the line between first and almost-first in class…until I hit puberty.
By that point all the name-calling and had started to chip away at my confidence. Being smart in school is so uncool in America that you can call smart kids names and still get away with it. It’s considered “good” for us. It’s supposed to give us a “sense of humor.”
Here’s the breakdown:
Brownie: A kid who appears to get special treatment from the teacher, even if it’s just because they’re they only one who raises their hand in class.
Smartypants: A name for someone who excels in school, but may not have the social skills to keep them cool enough to have a lot of friends. This name is usually accompanied by a sarcastic tone after the subject shares a fun fact that she thinks everyone will want to know.
Brainiac: A kid who definitely lacks the social skills to support his excess of knowledge. This is the kid who will someday make an amazing discovery and possibly cure cancer.
Teacher’s Pet: One who seems to get special treatment from the teacher. Whether they actually do get special treatment is debatable, and probably depends on whom you talk to.
Know-it-all: Also known as the “smart-kid-with-no-filter”. Someone gets this name when they can’t hold back their great fount of knowledge. Even I know that no one likes a Know-it-all.
Regardless of what the report card said back in school, all creative people are learners. You learn more about your craft every day and are honing it into something unique and special.
I still love learning things, and I like to think that I’m getting better at burying the hatchet. I also like reading about other smart kids, like Mindy Kaling, who used her sense of humor to write a very funny book about her childhood and beyond.
This post was written in the style of her chapter “Chubby for Life” from her new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), available in a variety of formats (it was the first book I read on my Kindle Touch!).
Thanks for the inspiration, Mindy!