I’m Good At The Internet
Gifted. Talented. Ahead of the curve. Over-achiever. Genius. I’ve grown up hearing these words used in reference to me, and it’s time to set the record straight.
I was homeschooled. My mom, a former special education teacher, was often required to design a custom curriculum for her students. Needless to say, I was privileged to a learning experience that was crafted around my learning style. Thankfully, I embraced it.
I started school younger than most, completed 1st and 2nd grade in one school year, skipped most typical 8th grade courses, and by the time I was 16 years old I was wrapping up high school and diving into college correspondence work. My first few weeks as a full-time LSU student began with me getting dropped off by my mother at school.
The easy answer is that I simply had a good education, but it’s not the complete answer. The truth of the matter is that my greatest asset in learning began long before I started school, and had very little to do with me.
You see, I grew up in an environment where information was available at whatever speed I could consume it. Rather than waiting until I started school, my parents began to teach me to read at my first sign of interest in books. Literacy, according to many development psychologists, is one of the foundational building blocks of learning. When I ran out of books to read at home, my parents began making regular trips to the library with me, even condoning my habit of checking out entire book series at once.
When I began to ask questions about my dad’s first computer, he showed me how to navigate an MS-DOS command prompt, boot Windows 3.1 and, ultimately, Paintbrush. Years later, when my dad first heard about America Online, we added a modem to our PC at home and signed up for what I didn’t realize would be possibly the largest single catalyst of the modern information age.
Time and time again, my parents made decisions that afforded me limitless access to information. They empowered my curiosity. Curiosity, interestingly, is not something that can be taught. Rather, it is something we are all born with, and from there it can either be fostered or stifled.
My curiosity was given every opportunity to develop, and so it did. Through my time in college, and with the help of some great friends, I took up graphic design and web development to help pay my bills. It wasn’t what I was studying in school, just something that I was curious about.
After taking a job in web development, I began to study heavier programming and application development. Within a year of graduating from college, I quit my job, got together with a friend and started a web & application development company, where I am still employed to this day.
I wasn’t taught how to write code, or design, or even how to run a business. I was simply given unadulterated access to information.
I’m not smart, or gifted, or a genius. I’m good at the internet. I ask questions constantly. I Google constantly. I read constantly. If there is something that confuses or intrigues me, I start looking for answers.
Your early years my have been different than mine, but given that access to information is now hardly a excuse thanks to the internet, the only thing holding back your future now might be a lack of curiosity. The best part? You can change that.