Does your need to be 'smart' go away after you cross a certain age?

People make such a huge deal about University, and the school you went to, and how much smarter/stupider you were than your peers.

But what does it even matter in a few years? Almost everyone is working in a few years. Even if you're working a 'status' oriented profession, you're not sitting there comparing test scores to see whose smarter, so what does it even matter.


Most Helpful Guy

  • I don't necessarily take pride in being smart as such but I do take pride in wanting to learn more and being curious. This are two quite different things. Not knowing something is no shame. However, not wanting to know or understand something is a shame. There are uncountable people out there who are too lazy to actually educate themselves and prefer being ignorant simply because it's more convenient. That is an attitude I only have contempt for.
    Also, while I'm not proud of being smart, I am proud of having worked so hard to become well-educated and attend a university. See, in my country Switzerland, we have a different education system than the US or most other countries do. The vast majority of teenagers do an apprenticeship and learn a job after completing their mandatory school education. Some other young adults also pursue an education at a higher education institution comparable to a community college in the US.
    In order to attend a real university in Switzerland, you have to be very, very good. That doesn't just mean smart but also motivated and willing to work hard. You have to pass a special entry exam (in several subjects) to get into the type of high school that allows you to attend a university later. This high school takes 4 years and at the end, you have a really big exam as well. We don't have "good" and "bad" universities in Switzerland like they do in America because we don't have private universities. All universities are public and they are all very good (for example the one I'm attending is in the top 50 of the world). Now, I'm not proud of being a student at such a prestigious university. BUT I am proud for having pulled through and worked hard to get where I am now. Only 15-20% of the population in Switzerland make it to university because universities are so highly selective (it's not like in America where any idiot can attend a college). And I'm especially proud to have made it into these top 20% in terms of education despite being almost blind (which means I've always had to work 200% to get the same results as other people).

    • What field did you end up pursuing in University (like your major)?

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    • That's really interesting that you're doing English and History.

      I always liked English in school but I never pursued it. My degree was in business. I was thinking of doing an English degree online while I work

    • Sure, why not :-) It's always good to learn more. That's kinda my motto. I don't know if it's like that in America too (probably not because colleges are so freaking expensive) but we have a lot of retired people who go back to university and study together with us young people. Especially in the liberal arts department and social sciences there are quite a lot of 70- or 75-year olds who are still quite fit and pursue some degree simply for fun. I once talked with an old guy in my Latin class (in Switzerland you have to take classes and take a test to prove proficiency in classical Latin to be eligible to study liberal arts subjects such as history or English). He told me about his family and how he used to be a math teacher before he retired. When he retired, he first liked it but after a few years, he got really bored, so he decided to do something completely different and study history :-). I think that attitude is really cool. You never stop learning new things :-).

Most Helpful Girl

  • I am always competitive :/
    there always smthng to compete on


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What Guys Said 4

  • The university you went to makes little difference after you've been out working for a few years. Your real education starts after you get out of school anyway.

    But being smart is something that's useful for the rest of your life. That's true in just about every profession, including those that don't require formal education. You'll approximately know the relative smartness of the people around you. If you're an engineer, you'll know who the wiz bang engineers are. If you're a mechanic, you'll know who the wiz bang mechanics are.

    It's not about who is smarter, but intelligence is useful in just about everything. It shows in their work and what they produce. That's assuming they actually know how to apply their intelligence, which is far from always being the case. Being able to apply it is a form of intelligence in itself. Being intelligent, or any other talent, is completely useless if you can't apply it.

  • Yes but at different ages for different people a nd in different ways. By your 40s you know who is smart and who is booksmart which are different things.

  • For me it's all about the career and how much money you can make. Smart to me is the ones that have made a lot of money with or without an education.

    • That's a very limited view. There are thousands of very smart people who work in jobs that don't make them millionaires. Pretty much all scientists for example.

    • @BlueCoyote Please note that I said all about the career before money, and also for me before that.. Perhaps answer the question with your own opinion to give your insight?

  • It goes away with realizing that that kind of competitiveness doesn't really get you anywhere.


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