My father is a genius and told me, when I was in the first or second grade that I was 1 IQ point short of being a genius like him. My IQ was 159. I annoyed my family by asking questions endlessly about everything. When I was five or six my mom used to invite friends over to listen to me talk at length about my dreams and imaginary friends. They joked that it would take me an hour to explain everything that happened in one dream. I struggled at school because if something didn't interest me, I would just doodle and daydream. I was sometimes called a genius and sometimes called retarded. I had a mix of A's in the courses I liked and near failing grades or Bs and Cs in those I didn't. When I finally decided to make an effort in all my classes I learned that I enjoyed every subject, received straight As, skipped a grade, and graduated from high school a year early.

Now as an adult I have a list of graduate degrees from highly regarded Universities. I feel confident I can excel in any subject or area of study that interests me. I look back now and wish someone had recognized that I was gifted, though, because I was bored out of my mind for most of elementary school and high school. I was the class clown when I was young, always being sent to the principle's office. In high school I often cut class. I was made fun of, and learned to downplay my abilities. In high school, at the age of 13, most of my friends were college students. By college, I felt I related better to professors and non traditional students. I finally feel at home as an academic, although I will probably never get over being somewhat socially awkward.

I think I was never considered for gifted classes because I was a trouble maker and attended a crummy public school. I have a child of my own now and want to make sure he has better opportunities than I did, especially if he is also gifted. I know from experience that in some ways being gifted makes life easier, because a world of possible career paths is open to you, but socially, it can be very hard, especially as a girl and woman. It is a curse and a blessing, but mostly a blessing. I still love learning, and I love my job (as a scientist).

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