This post reminds us that we can overcome premature, and sometimes negative, assessments of our skills and abilities.
As a professor, I met so many students who had a poor opinion of their abilities to be more than just be average in college because someone had told them early in their lives that they were not smart, capable, or good enough to be successful. These are what I call premature assessments, decisions made about the intellectual abilities of children based on comparisons with older siblings or made before they had hit their educational stride. I remember one young woman in particular that I will call Maggie.
Maggie was in my Introduction to Sociology class, and after the first class, she came to see me because of her concern regarding whether she could satisfactorily complete the many requirements of the course. She told me that she had always been told that she was the least smart of her parents’ two daughters, and that her parents believed that she would…
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