Sometimes I feel especially lucky, because all through my life I’ve been both; I’ve been incredibly gifted in terms of academia and intelligence, but at the same time I’ve always been complimented on my very powerful work ethic.
The work ethic is kind of a product of my environment though, I think. In England, there was never any regional competitions for maths or science; I’m certain that if there were, I would have competed in them for sure. But I was always so fascinated in everything outside of human interaction; mathematics, science, history; all of it was so much more interesting than what other people were doing or saying, even my own family. So I’d dive into it all, and I’d actually relish homework because it was a chance to showcase how much I knew. It wasn’t until I was a bit older and I was near the end of high school that I took a look around me for the first time and genuinely realised that everybody had friends and girlfriends and good relationships with their family…and I had no-one. Even more so than that…it didn’t faze me nearly as much as I expected.
So I got my top grades and my top recommendations from teachers, and so I got to medical school with the potential to do anything I wanted to do. I could reinvent myself if I so chose; I could make friends, combine interests, live, laugh, and most importantly love.
Within my first week I had already spent six days in the library researching and doing my assignments, and the one other day was because I had some difficulty moving my stuff in.
To this day, I’m still not entirely sure as to where my work ethic came from, and certainly not to the magnitude that it has consumed my life. When my sister told me that she was going to go on a gap year at uni, I looked at her like she’d sprouted another head. Homework and raw reading and analysis has always drawn me to it like a moth to a flame, and I’ve had some health concerns because of it; most things are best in moderation and studying is no different. I’ve literally worked myself into exhaustion multiple times. Passed out once. That wasn’t fun. But even now, I’m practically nocturnal and can survive on negligible amounts of sleep. Even now, the literal only socialising I get done outside of my roommate, my professors and occasionally my family is…on here. So…congratulations??
And now I’ve gotten to here; I’ve consistently achieved some of the highest marks and some of the best grades in the country, but in doing so I’ve pretty much guaranteed that I’ll live the rest of my life on my own. I never really had the distraction of social issues mainly because I avoided them like the plague, and the fact that I have the same sex drive as a slab of concrete also helped I suppose. I don’t even know if I am asexual or a lesbian or heterosexual; never really given the thoughts the time of day.
Of course, I do still have hobbies and interests that I pursue and follow that I’ve cultivated since I started primary school, but they will always be second. I almost bankrupted my parents as a child I bet, buying different books. And in every social event I’d be reading, usually. Even now, I wonder how I managed to keep that up without any legitimate work like now in my life, but most of it went by quite quickly. I wonder if I’m at risk for any mental issues sometimes, but even that takes a back seat. An alarm bell should go off there when that happens, and it does; but it’s like it’s muted.
In terms of the bullying…whoo boy, there was a lot of it. Most of it was just passive aggressive shit though, because I didn’t really respond to being provoked; I may have been the gigantic bookworm nerd (both figuratively and literally), but eventually people, and I mean a lot of people, even people who didn’t bully anyone else resorted to more subtle methods. I think the one I remember the most was being tripped as I was going down the stairs. As far as why people do it…I can’t say. More often than not it happens to them, and they not only need an outlet, but think that that outlet is acceptable because it happens to them. I never really know anything about what happened to my bullies, but if I never hear anything for the rest of my life, it’ll be too soon. I’m the same as @FairyGodfeather; bullying didn’t help me in any way character-wise. It just made me even more vindictive, cold and unforgiving than I already was.
On the flip side, I think I see a line of people forming outside to be my friend because I’m so fun…