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10 Adults Share Where They Are Now As “Gifted” Kids

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There is a lot of pressure these days to raise smart and well-behaved children. With the right parenting style, school curriculum, and after-school activities, many adults (and parents) believe they can groom their child(ren) to be the next Pulitzer Prize winner or highly esteemed doctor.

Unfortunately, the real truth is that putting so much pressure on children that need time to explore and express themselves on their own terms can be very detrimental. In particular, it can affect their mental health. A Redditor asks previously “gifted” kids where they are now as adults; the answers are not what society would expect.

1. Medical School Dropout Turned Chef

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At some point, some kids realize they are chasing someone else’s dreams, and not their own. One Redditor shares an example: “I failed out of med school because I loathed it. Most of my family was very upset and my mother swore that it shamed her at church.

I became a chef because it’s what I really wanted to do. I love it and get to eat constantly which is a win. Also I have a small farm and 1 kid.”

2. Hitting the Restart Button

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It is common for kids to go wild after they finally go out on their own. They turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with the pressure. One user shares, “Putting my life back together after years of mental health issues and drug abuse. But I’m happy. Have nice things, nothing too fancy, but I’m very content with where I am.”

3. College Dropout to Marine and Family Man

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Some kids will realize that they don’t have to strive for such high expectations, and that its okay. One Redditor shares, “I cracked under the pressure to meet expectations, dropped out of Stanford, joined the Marines on August 31, 2001.

Went to war, came back, met a girl who opened my eyes to how just how rewarding a “mediocre” life could be. Found a well paying job at a factory that requires above average intelligence but minimal labor (instrumentation & automation) and I’ve been coasting off of that for the last 18 years while I’ve been raising my family.”

4. Succesful But Sad

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Success related to career and money doesn’t equate to happiness or good mental health. One previously gifted kid shares, “[I] dropped out of school. Then got a PhD. Currently very successful and very depressed.”

5. Substance Abuse and ADHD

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“Diagnosed with ADHD last year. Spent most of my life drunk, doing drugs, in and out of jail.” Sadly, not an uncommon scenario for anyone that felt pressure to be someone specific.

6. Rich with a Lot of Free Time

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“Finished up two STEM degrees, now I’m getting paid for VERY minimal work. Spend most of my time hanging out with my dogs and going to the gym.” Most would consider this a big win as long as they find fun ways to pass the time!

7. Dropped Out of School to Be a Nanny

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Yet another college dropout shares her story: “I (f35)Currently work as a nanny. I definitely don’t feel like being “gifted” helped me in anyway in life other then I’m now full of useless knowledge the kids absolutely love. I spent so much of my youth being “gifted” that by time I was able to make choices for myself i faltered and dropped out of college and partied a lot.
I do wish I could redo my school path with more direction then I was given and maybe things would of been different.”

8. Living in a Basement

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Living with parents long past the teenage years can feel like a failure for some people. One user shares, “I’m a 50yo psych RN who lives in his parent’s basement. I f***ed up pretty hard but am trying to dig myself out of it.”

9. PhD to Middle School Teacher

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Another case of realizing they were pursuing the wrong career: “I dropped out of a PhD program because I hated it, was on the verge of a breakdown, and knew that the jobs in my field were few and far between. I am now a history teacher at a middle school. I love my job so much more – I get to teach and don’t have to deal with so many of the academic politics.”

10. Electrical Engineering to Video Game Manager

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“Got a degree in electrical engineering and hated nearly every minute of it. Got my first “real” job in technical recruiting, and moved into business development a few years later. Fast forward 10 years to today, and I’m an executive in the video gaming industry and a board advisor for a couple of similar companies.

Not at all how I imagined things going. My dad is still not proud. No surprise there.

Life is good. I built a camper van and just got back from a roadtrip with my girlfriend and dog. I think college is a scam for the most part, and the US’s system of capitalism is disgusting.”

The Pressure on “Gifted” Kids

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While some kids thrive on the pressure and excel to find careers they love in traditionally “smart” careers, these stories make it clear that not all do. Many crack under pressure and then forge their own path to their own definition of success and happiness.


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