Why Street Smarts Are More Valuable Than Book Smarts By Julia Dearing |
On average we spend 16+ years in school and for 16+ years we are taught that our test scores not only define our chance at getting into a good college, our success after we graduate, and the number of 0’s that will come at the end of a future paycheck, they also determine our level of intelligence.
We’re taught to believe that those numbers and the GPAs that follow essentially determine our chances of success vs. failure. That’s complete bullshit.
Sure, being book smart is great and I would love to not be retaking a required math class I previously failed. Of course, a high GPA is a fantastic safety blanket in the post-college job search. But, do you know what else is a great key to success? Street smarts. In fact, I’d like to argue that without street smarts, the entire concept of book smarts is really nothing.
Being street smart means you have the ability to interact, function, and thrive in the world around you. It’s the ambition, tact, and personality that set’s one person apart from another. It’s the guts and the knowledge to get what you want anyway you can.
Being someone who’s always floated in the average range when it comes to GPA and grades, a few C’s here, maybe an unfortunate F with just the right amount of A’s and B’s to balance it out, I’ve always been told that for me, finding success may be a little harder.
Constantly reminded that if I don’t work harder and a get the grades associated with an “intelligent” person, I may limit my ability to reach my full potential.
But what those people are overlooking are the skills that are actually going to help me in my future career path. While they’re looking at the D I just got on my calc test and the C in French class, my future employers are looking at my work on the multiple websites I write for, they’re looking at the extremely professional personal website I put together and built myself, they’re looking at the resume that says I got a fashion internship in New York City after only my freshman year in college.
Guess what the real kicker is, none of those things were accomplished because I was kickass at linear equations or because I understand every word in philosophical dialogue written 500 years ago. I accomplished those things by understanding how the world works and what I needed to be doing in order to get my foot in the door to set myself up for future success.
I was able to accomplish these things by understanding that it is perfectly ok to ask questions and by understanding how to interact with people whether it be in an interview, while making connections, or just a person on the street.
I understand that good grades are important and that you can’t blow off your least favorite class just because it has literally nothing to do with your future profession. You have to do things you don’t want to get what you do want. Some things won’t come easy and it will be frustrating when you study for hours and still don’t quite get a concept for your test.
But while I want you to promise me you’ll work hard at everything you do, I want you to also promise me that you won’t ever beat yourself down just because you aren’t “smart” according to the numbers. Because if you can understand what you want in life, run after it, grab it and hold on tight, you are the smartest person in the world. Book smart looks great on paper, but it doesn’t always translate perfectly into the real world. What does translate is your drive, ambition, and courage and that is something numbers cannot define.
A street smart person is a great leader, a great leader is a great boss, and a great boss is a damn good CEO. If you know how to interact in function in a pretty big and cut-throat world, there is nothing that isn’t an option.
Book smart teaches you how to calculate, street smart teaches you how to thrive.
Julia DearingEditorial Contributor, Indiana University
Major: Apparel Merchandising and Fashion Design
Her heart belongs to: Fitness, Fashion, music, the color black, lipstick, New York City and chai tea lattes
Her guilty pleasures: Carbs, over priced coffee, and 80s movies