“It gets better.”
You hear it all the time. About illnesses, disabilities, challenges, and any other sort of struggle you can think of.
I heard it about giftedness. I hear some variation of “When you ________, it will be easier.” “When you’re in college, you’ll meet more people like you.” “In grad school, it will be more challenging.” “When you’re an adult, it won’t matter so much.”
But here’s the thing. I’m different. Fundamentally, in my neurology, in the very basics of who I am, I am different. That doesn’t go away, no matter how much I wish it would. It’s still hard to meet people like me. I still get bored in class easily. I still stand out for my age, my smarts, my struggles, my quirks.
To the kid struggling with his first grade homework because it’s too easy so he can’t focus: I’m sorry. I hope you will continue to find other challenges outside of school. Because the truth is, it doesn’t get better.
To my friends who are bored in high school and longing for a challenge in college: I’m sorry. I hope you will follow your passions and develop strong relationships with your professors. Because it doesn’t get better.
To every adult who has ever told me it will get better: I’m sorry. I know you meant well, but you lied to me. Because no matter what I do, I can’t change who I am, so it won’t get better.
There are always bright spots. I love engaging in conversation about the topics I’m interested in. I truly enjoy the seminars, and discussing the material with my professors and classmates. They are few and far between, but there are people out there who are my friends and who can relate to me. It is discouraging, but not hopeless. Stay aware of opportunities, network with your peers, and keep that voracious appetite for learning. That advice has served me far better than empty reassurances.