A Reflection on my Intellectual Journey

With humility, I would say I’m what most would consider to be a “pretty smart kid”. I have almost a perfect GPA, I constantly make the President’s List, I’m a member of an academic honor society, so on and so forth. However, I wouldn’t say it has always been this way. As a kid, I struggled with school, especially in subjects like math and science. I always got by with decent grades, but I was never too far above average. I went to a private high school for my last 3 years of high school, and I thrived socially and athletically while still managing to get mostly B’s when it came to grades. I can recall, however, a couple of situations that made me feel like I would never be “smart”. At the end of sophomore year, our biology professors would recommend to our advisors what physics class we should be registered for. My teacher suggested I go into the “conceptual physics” course instead of regular or advanced physics. When I asked my advisor (who was a complete sweetheart and like a second mother to me) what “conceptual physics” even was, she told me “well, I’d say it’s like physics for poets”. She put it in a nice way, but I knew what she meant was that I had been put into the “dumb” class. In that moment in time I convinced myself I would always be terrible at science. Two years later, in my senior year calculus class, I sat there struggling in a classroom with all of my friends, when my teacher, who I was also very close with, looked at me and announced in front of the class, “You know Amanda, for someone who is pretty smart, I just don’t understand how you can be SO bad at math.” I’ll never forget that feeling of incompetence, and although my teacher was otherwise great at his job, that ruined math for me to this very day.

However, in a strange way I’m grateful to have experienced that gut-wrenching public humiliation. Until that point I had cruised through school managing to get mostly B’s, and trying hard enough, but not as much as I could have. That experience lit a fire under my ass; I got competitive, and I now wanted to prove myself. I went into college with a mission to grind as hard as I could to be at the top. I never wanted to feel stupid again. I pulled all nighters, drilled information into my head, whatever it took to get an A and feel like the smartest one in the class. While I was succeeding and getting straight A’s (as a science major, ironically), I was driving myself insane. Not eating, not sleeping, just working and studying all day and all night. It got to the point where it wasn’t good for my health. I lost too much weight, didn’t socialize or have friends, and was so obsessed with the idea of being smart that I forgot to take care of myself, and love myself. After almost a couple of years of this, I decided I needed to make a change.

I ended up switching majors, from Exercise Science to Interdisciplinary Studies. Not because I thought it would be easier, but because I realized I didn’t want to be a file cabinet of information. I wanted to help others be the best version of themselves. I wanted to help people lead better lives by being able to communicate with them like a normal person, without big fancy science terms. I loved my time in exercise science, but I wanted to put my knowledge at use for other people. I realize now that there is so much out there in the academic world that I have yet to explore. Besides physical health and exercise, I’m also wandering into subjects like spirituality, personal transformation, holistic healing, etc. As my knowledge and studies expand, I hope to be able to help others in many aspects of their lives. 

Want to share? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *