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September 29, 2023

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Intelligence, curiosity gives confidence, pushes one to move forward in life

I have always been considered intelligent.

My teachers as far back as I can remember talked about how bright I was. Later, my high school teachers would talk to me about how I was wasting my potential in being so academically lazy.

My friends, my family and my acquaintances have all said something about how smart I am at various times in my life.

In my hardest times, my true trials, I held on to my intellect and tried to not let it get stagnate. I have always felt like the smartest person in the room.

What has this gotten me?

It has given me confidence to go back to school and succeed where I once failed miserably.

What else has it given me? It has given me a thirst for knowledge that is ceaseless.

What else you ask? I will tell you: an arrogance and sense of grandiosity that hurt me in countless ways. I have alienated many with my overbearing nature.

I cannot blame them; insufferableness is not fun to be around.

So why am I telling you this?

Why am I sounding haughty?

Why am I admitting to this personal foible? The answer is our fair University.

I began graduate school in fall of 2011 and I soon found out that so many of you, my fellow students, are flat-out brilliant.

To state that my professors are on another plane goes without saying, but it is you, my fellow Falcons, that have really humbled me.

I find the mark of true intelligence to be the ability to look beyond Door One, to really perceive.

I have that ability and sometimes I can even look behind Door Three and Four. I have met those that go way beyond this. As I sit in class, the library or my graduate lab, I am truly gob-smacked by the absolute intellectual power being put before me at times.

I find this beyond fascinating, frustrating and curious.

I am fascinated because these people, almost all younger than I, are so dedicated and smart.

I have to wonder: was I that poor of a student or is the level of education they received so far superior to what I received? I am frustrated because I am not used to being behind the intellectual curve that often.

It is a new, complex, and weird feeling.

Yes, I am not the class dunce. I am still intelligent with much to offer any discussion.

I just am not used to being at the end of the line in this way as I find myself at times.

As for curiosity, I wonder if I am that far behind and what can I do about it? Is this a fleeting feeling or an unreal one? Is this a momentary crisis of confidence? The answer is probably all of the above.

This sounds like a column filled with boasts, whining, low self-esteem, questioning and self-loathing.

I assure you it is not.

These great minds around me at times bring me down but mostly they uplift me. I am marveled by you smart, young people.

Take it from the old man here: keep cultivating your mind, never waste a moment to learn and cherish this university atmosphere. It truly is like no other.

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