Who Fares Better in High School?

If you are reading this, chances are that you go to BTHS [or went]. If that is the case, you either got here from a few options. Namely, teaching yourself or learning in a group setting [i.e. tutor v.s. tutoring group]. However, there is more to it than that. The story of education is a story of how one gets their education. For some, it’s learning from home [think book smart]. For others, it’s learning from public school and/or experiences from outside of home [think street smart]. Which is better? Which is worse? As you read on, you will likely draw reasoning for either being better.

When one was growing up, they likely went to public/private/religious school [or multiple]. Though, for some, that was not the limit of their academia. I, for one, did a great magnitude of learning outside of school. From studying about ornithology to learning about history; it was my life. On that note, it made me many grades ahead of my peers in reading, writing and mathematics [among others, such as sciences]. It is a great feeling to be able to know way ahead of your peers [not saying they aren’t smart, they may be smart in other topics; with one being street intelligence]. In schools, I figured, book intelligence was key to being capable of achieving the highest grades [a factor as to why I became valedictorian of my 8th grade class]. The thought of being book smart also allows you to gain immense knowledge. There is one problem though; socialization. Again, personally, I grew up [for 12 years of my life] with but one friend. Despite that, I never really got in touch with him as much as others would with their friends. I traded a possibility of many friendships with reading and learning. That was my life, day in and out for year after year. In a sense, I was a hermit in a home, learning about a new topic every day. When I finally got the opportunity to become friends with others, it was shocking. I had never even taken something like that up as an opportunity in my life. It was also stressful, for I wanted to keep learning; but my new environment forbade that. Later on, thus, I would get a few friendships, some best friendships, some not. Aside from personal experience, intelligence in studying will help one with grades immensely. In addition, it may help them develop a work ethic along the lines of “when I get a second of free time, I am immediately going to my homework.” Yet again, that is a double-edged sword, whereby you get the homework done, yet you also trade all your freedom and any friendships you had. Aside from myself, others had their own opinion towards which type of intelligence being better. Rha Lin ’19 stated that “…if you want to get good grades, you have to study. If you want to study, you need book smarts.” One of the librarians, Mr. Grandt, stated that “Book intelligence is more important as it can help with advancing in high school education…” On the other side of the spectrum is a sort of intelligence less may think of, but it just as important.

The idea of “street smart” will usually conjure up an image of a ruffian-like teenager riding on a skateboard, cursing at everything that moves, street intelligence is much more than that. The concept is broken down into a couple of facets: who, where and how. The “who” is usually young men or women, around the time of 6th-12th grade. That being said, there are exceptions, like a twenty year old man with nothing to accomplish, or a 5th grader who is trying to look “cool” to his older sibling(s). The “where” is from the aptly named “street” portion of the title, although it comprises any out-of-house location. The “how” is mostly regarding the quick-thinking and reflexes of those being discussed. In this case, the persons being discussed have the capability to quickly adapt to their surroundings, and evade situations. If a man looks fishy, they will be out of the area. If someone is trying to rob them, they will strike back [or evade]. If a situation doesn’t seem right to their minute-by-minute lifestyle, they will be out of the danger zone with great speed and swiftness. In a high school setting, these students will be able to tell if a fight is about to break out, if a man is suspicious, or if a [real] fire or lockdown will begin. This is part of their situational awareness, something book smart students tend to lack. These types of people also tend to be in groups or friends bound in brotherhood and [sometimes] camaraderie. They stick together, and watch out for one another’s backs. When I asked Alex Baraian ’19, he stated that if you want to survive “don’t get mugged,” implying that street intelligence is key in a day-to-day lifestyle. Jefferson, class of ’18, stated that “Living in NYC, you need to know how to use public transportation” which is a implication of ‘if you want to get around, you have to be aware.’ In conclusion, these types of people will be quick on their feet, and safe when the going gets tough.

Which side is better off, you may be asking about now. The answer is in fact both and neither [not in an oxymoron]. This is for students who have a vast supply of information are capable of knowing the answer to what people throw at them. On the other hand, the street-people know about every dangerous situation in life, and how to escape it. Just as a book smart person would not likely survive in a fight, a street-smart person would not do as well on a test [again, there are exceptions to this rule, some from friends of mine who appear at the extreme of both sides]. The “perfect” student is one who knows the answers to problems he expects- and sometimes doesn’t- to be given, and capable of having situational awareness.


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