Thought on Intelligence and Belle, the smartest junkie in my course.

By no means I see myself as an intelligent person. Although sometimes I do feel I underestimate myself, this calls for a humblebrag moment. I find it astonishing how I’m currently in one of the top 5 unis in the UK, and studying anthropology at that. Most of the people I talk to don’t have a clue what it means. I have hardly studied my entire, there were only a few instances where I actually crammed for exams. Before getting the results of the year, I always think to myself ‘this is it, this is the year that I’m fucking up’. I have written bullshit, left entire questions blank in my essays and exams. Teachers have called up my parents and all that bullshit. And somehow I’m still here. 

Being in a social sciences course, there are 29487325987 readings to do. Honestly, I hardly read them, I try to read them but I have short attention span, and I sometimes I don’t understand shit, or it’s too difficult to grasp (I’m a pretty slow reader, although I love reading novels). But why is it that I’m still surviving with above average grades. How is that essays that I write in an all-nighter can get a 70/100 mark? While my course mates who are pouring weeks of effort, going through the trouble of citing books out of the reading-list, meeting with the professors, are receiving lower and similar grades than I? I feel totally underserving of it. I’m not good at articulating my thoughts and I’m not good at grasping theories or using lofty academic language. 


Belle is a girl from my course who comes from a working class background. and she is pretty much the only person from such a background since the degree I’m pursuing is rather white middle-class endeavour. She wears hoodies and sweats most of the time, she is always late for class or never shows up. Her dad is a single parent and a disabled person, and she has an identical twin sister, and the family isn’t financially well off. Also, did I mention she is a natural beauty, she has the angelic pale face that most model agencies would kill for these days. 

At the beginning of the freshman year, the rest of the white middle class kids always saw her as ‘the cool kid who is always late’ kinda category. There were already so much assumptions made about her, so most of the class don’t really talk to her (then again, in uni no one really talks to one another in the course). Until one day, we had a substitute lecturer who was a hard ass and drilled the class with difficult questions on a reading on mobilisation post socialist countries (I didn’t do this and I was praying myself off that I wouldn’t be called out). We were divided into groups and the lecturer was asking one person from each group their conclusions and opinions. Belle was picked for group and she answered all the questions fluently and constructively. The whole class was in shock, my jaw dropped. The things I was hearing and the person I was looking at didn’t match. 

Today Belle and I are friends, although we aren’t in each other’s close social circles. Belle is one cool chick who buys her weed in bulk (amongst other drugs), she is funny, she is smart, she has read all the books and watched all the cult films. She has a sick taste in music as well, not your usual cute pleb girl shit. Despite being from a shit background, and being poor, she still knows how to enjoy herself, how to socialise, how to turn up a party. A socially awkward person like me can only admire the way she just connect with another person in 5 mins. 

Now Belle gets pissed on drugs often, sometimes being knocked out for a day, waking up and realising an 5000 word essay is due today, and then spending the next 5 hours writing on the modern state, and still getting a distinction. This happens for most of her coursework and essays. Can you imagine if she actually puts in effort like the rest of us? She’d be shaking her ass to Cambridge. 

Is intelligence biological? I think to a certain extent. See, Belle has a twin sister that studies Neuroscience. Just like Belle, she skipped all the class and tutorials. And graduated with a 89 for her dissertation proposal. 

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