Open Topic #3

Third request:

how do u become so brilliant n always be one of the top students in school?

I am brilliant because I got a Hogwarts acceptance letter on my birthday when I was eleven and has been secretly attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry without anyone’s knowledge and now I’m a fifth-year witch, and that automatically makes me brilliant and far more superior than all you Muggles. I also found Narnia in my old closet in the guest room and guess what I saw Aslan and satyrs and centaurs and met the High King Peter in Cair Paravel. I won the two hundred and fifty-ninth Hunger Games, and I rented a rocketship to Pigfarts which is on Mars and I met the headmaster Rumbleroar which is a lion, that can talk.

Yeah, I am brilliant.

Fantasies aside, this kind of question is exactly what I am afraid of.

I am not brilliant. I am a mess. I have terrible habits I try really hard (maybe too hard, sometimes) to hide from the prying and constantly judging eyes of the people around me. Brilliant, is what you call someone who has a neat schedule and gets everything done quickly without fuss, or someone who stands out among others because they show true potential, be it socially or academically. I am neither. I get by barely scraping the top by luck, hard luck. Again, modesty aside, I admit I have a good and adhesive memory, and quick understanding skills. I have my moments when I feel motivated to work, and I proceed to do it, but most of the time I just end up giving up halfway, as it is with almost everything I do. I am telling the truth here. Consistency is something a “brilliant” individual must have, and it is probably the key trait of that individual’s characteristics. And consistency is something I really lack, something I try very hard to obtain, but mostly fail.

So yes, the ugly truth is, I get by with this memory of mine and those supposedly “great understanding skills”. And a snarky attitude to remind myself I have to act like I’m always on the top, top, top, so that my self-esteem doesn’t crash onto the ground all of a sudden, especially not in school. I am being truthful when I say I’d rather be like anyone of you, an average student than someone who almost everyone has their eyes on, to watch carefully in case she makes a wrong step, which, apparently, is some kind of a big deal if you are constantly top in the class. People watch your every move like a freaking Dementor. And when you fail, the incredulity and disappointment pop up like two giant black bubbles to smother and ridicule me. Yes, being known gives you moments of glory, but it is not worth having people semi-controlling your life.

Anyway. Um. To summarize my answer to your question directly, how I am always top in the school, I am just like this giant sponge, you know? I absorb things left, right and center, and then I have my common sense process it so I can actually accept it, like my brain giving me the green light. I guess yeah, I am smart in a way. I think a lot, sometimes too much. But yeah, that’s my answer. I’m sorry if you were looking for a response something along the lines of “hard work, revising every day for 35787584643965486439 hours, taking notes on every single sheet of paper I can lay my hands on, buy tonnes of workbooks to work with etc” but I don’t do that because I have a lazy arse. I have proof if you want to look through my whole stack of untouched workbooks since Form One.

So yeah, I should be the last person you come to for advice. I am hopeless, myself.

…but at least I’m not just a baboon brandishing a stick.

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Author: Michelle Teoh

21-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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