Posted on 15-01-2010
Filed Under (Appropriate behavior) by Anita Kelly

On separate occasions this week, two students told me almost exactly the same thing: “There are so many students around here way smarter than me.” What’s funny is that it turns out that both these students have really high IQs.

In addition, over the years, many students have told me on the first day of class that they are not particularly interested in studying anything.

So, the question is, “Why would students meeting a professor for the first time shoot themselves in the foot by telling the professor that they are not that smart or motivated?” After all, professors do not grade papers blind and can be heavily influenced by the impressions you give during class. If you tell professors bad things about yourself, they are likely to believe you. And this negative impression has the potential to hurt your grade.

I believe that the answer to this question lies in what you had to do to make friends long before you came to college. You had to look like you weren’t conceited or trying too hard in high school to fit in, because the motivated and brainy kids weren’t the most popular.

But now you are in college. Smart is definitely “in”. It’s time to consider shedding any ”dumb” persona. Instead of sitting in the back and acting barely interested in the class material to fit in with your current friends, you could try sitting in the front and formulating brilliant questions for your professor. Beyond impressing your professors, you might discover that your brilliance is downright attractive to your classmates. 

Also, please never, never tell a professor that you did not do well on the SAT. Professors can be total geeks when it comes to standardized testing and may conclude that you are not smart because of that darn test score.

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