I'm editing my post with a preface because I thought of something that's crucial for you to know about me before you read this. I am good with the English language. My grasp of the written word is, in my opinion, above average. This skill does NOT change anything I believe in the following post.
Also yes, I did just post this to Reddit but I don't expect many replies over there because new posters' threads get buried extremely quickly.
The thread title says that I'm not intelligent. I stand by this statement but please do not misconstrue that to mean that I think I'm "stupid."
Like the title says I am relatively certain that I'm less intelligent than the average human being (at least in the West - I know very few people from the middle east outside of Israel and from the far east). I'm not ashamed to be "stupid," but every time I make the point that I don't possess above-average intelligence, I get treated as if I just said I wanted to commit suicide or murder a puppy.
Not everyone can be possessed of "above average" mental faculties. It's right there in the name. Some of us are lower on the totem pole, and many of you are higher. Even much higher.
I'm starting to feel patronized every time someone tells me I'm "smart." I don't believe it and would go so far as to say that I possess such a profound lack of "common" sense that my everyday life is being profoundly affected by that deficit.
I'm currently a couple of months away from finishing nursing school and sitting for the boards that would theoretically make me an RN but I'm no longer sure I should take the test. I am confident that I could pass the test but I am also scared that I might hurt somebody if I were to get my RN license and begin to practice independently.
I don't want to hurt or kill anyone because I've made a terrible mistake. Don't I have a responsibility right NOW to protect the public by keeping myself away from them? I'm NOT trying to be a martyr. I wouldn't want an idiot to take care of me in the hospital so what right do I have to inflict myself upon others? It feels dishonest, dangerous, and plain /wrong/.
I'm not sure if I'll always be able to assess my capabilities the way I can at this moment so I feel a sense of urgency to do something /now/ to ensure that I don't put myself in a position where I am likely to hurt somebody.
Why us it so darned controversial to admit that you don't possess a special mind? What's wrong with being average or below? I'm not so much of an idiot that I'm not able to recognize when a problem exists so I feel that I'm being condescended when someone tries to tell me I'm "so smart," whatever the hell that means. I'm not ashamed to be relatively unintelligent - after all, even a stupid human is a super genius whilst standing among the Earth's fauna!!! Compared to the animals with whom we share our home almost every one of us is a genius of relative stature that would by make the smartest people we know to have ever existed, in terms of relative cognitive stature, simply and devastatingly ordinary. From an emotional perspective I don't feel that require the constant validation of telling myself or having others tell me that I'm smarter or better than others. I'm always trying to be the best version of myself that I can be and if I can manage that then i'll be proud of myself for the accomplishment. Being the best that I can be feels like a noble goal worth pursuing and dedicating my life to, and right now being the best that I can be feels like it probably requires quitting school and finding a job that won't lead to others' deaths if I make a mistake.
So again I ask - /why/
is it so damned taboo to say that I don't think I have such a flippin' smart mind that non-superlative descriptors can adequately capture my condition? I'm not putting myself down and I don't feel terrible and self-conscious about my less developed intellect. I have other qualities that make me stand out from the crowd and my life is generally happy. I'd rather be happy and stupid than miserable and intelligent. I am a hard worker. I'm honest and sincere. I care about people and treat them with respect. These qualities are enough for me and I am proud of myself for possessing them. I feel quite discouraged over the fact that all of these positive qualities I possess are implicitly deemed unimportant in the fact of my somewhat "intellectually-challenged" condition.
For some reason it's acceptable to point out your own faults but being realistic about your (low) intelligence is a social faux pas on the level of streaking at the Super Bowl. I'll reiterate: we CANNOT all be "smart," because to me that word implies possession of a superior intellect and unless we're comparing ourselves to apes or to fish it should become clear to us that not everybody can possess a "superior" intellect.
I realize that I haven't said /why/
I'm so sure that I'm not a super-genius, but I don't think that's so important; at least not when compared to the points I /did/ make. I'm sorry for the long post, but if I'm going to give up a career that I truly, TRULY love then I need to be sure that it's the right thing to do. I've never quite loved anything that wasn't another human being nearly as much as I love nursing. Actually, it's not even a close call. So I'd like to hear the consensus. Is the self-awareness of my below average intelligence a good reason to quit? It seems to me like a black and white and simple question with an equally simple answer: I don't belong a spot where I'm making decisions that will affect another person's life, be it positively or negatively. Nothing else matters. My ego is a tiny and almost 100% unimportant droplet of water in the bucket that contains the water that is our responsibility to treat of other people safely, respectfully, consistently, and to the very best of our abilities.. It /doesn't/
matter because if I'm not able to be safe with patients then I don't belong within fifty feet of one, and if I can't treat a patient in a way that allows them to comfortably "open up" around me then I run the very real and now even elevated risk of being lied to, having crucial parts of the story left out, or forgetting something that we should remember or better still have written down.
TLDR: I'm not very smart (nor am I egregiously stupid. I believe that I am simply below average with respect to my intellectual potential. I want to know two things, one of which is extremely important due to possible consequences that will reach far, far beyond the scope of significance that most of us are used to (have i terrified you into silence yet? I hope not!):
1) Why is it so damned bad to admit that you're not smarter than the average bear? By DEFINITION some of us are on the left side of the curve while others sit on the opposite side. In my personal opinion, to be ashamed of our own genetics is not just a colossal waste of good time but also possibly disrespectful to our own ancestors. But what do I know? I'm just a dumb guy who puts on some different pairs of scrubs
a few days a week!
2) Should I quit nursing school now while I still haven't hurt anyone? While I still have yet to actually /kill or maim/
anyone? Please don't underestimate the difficulty I had when choosing to ask this question. Nursing is the first thing that's ever made me feel passionate. It's the only thing I've ever studied that made me feel like I could do it for the rest of my life and never run out of questions and never have the river that is my passion for nursing dry up. Asking you all if I should quit is quite honestly one of the hardest things I've EVER done. To have the object of my obsession be pulled out from under me and taken away forever would be more than difficult. More than devastating. I don't know if the English language has a word that could describe what I would feel if i had to quit. But I would still do it. I mean that.
Thank you so much for reading my post (or the TLDR version!). If you reply - which I sincerely hope you decide to do because each of us possesses a unique perspective shaped by our own lives' experiences, then it would probably be helpful if you told me that you read the entire post or that you just read the TLDR. Don't be afraid of offending me, because you likely won't do so no matter what you say!
Aug 10, '17
Your post was very interesting to me, and I also hope that you get the answer you seem. My opinion is that you definiteky posses excellent communication skills and, it seems, a genuine concern for the safety and well-being of others, particularly others in your care. I also think that people who are convinced that they are very smart are often much more dangerous to others than those who question their intelligence and abilities. Even geniuses do not excel in every area.
That said, I do think it's difficult to answer your question without knowing exactly which ways you consider yourself below average in intelligence. If you are like me and are overcome with a mind numbing confusion when faced with certain,math problems, there is help for that. If you are mechanically challenged, finding it hard to figure out how to work hospital bed brakes or drain a catheter bag, you can work with that, by making sure to take extra time to figure these things out and practice them. There are so many areas that many of us have problems with, but I can't think of a lot that would absolutely make you an unsafe nurse, regardless of any effort made to improve. I think that sharing with everyone exactly where your doubts come from.
I must add that I'm not a nurse, but a MAP certified NA. I am hoping to get into nursing school, and am also questioning if I have what it takes to be a good nurse. In my case, I wonder if I'm young enough or will be quick enough to keep up with my classmates.
Last edit by deeCNA2013 on Aug 10, '17
: Reason: Adding info