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You May Not Be 'Smart Enough' For School, But The Real World Isn’t All About Good Grades

There are other kinds of "intelligence" out there, not just the one we were taught to acknowledge since childhood.
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When we think of intelligence, most of us would often associate it with getting high marks in school, knowing the answers to quiz and trivia questions, or accomplishing life goals you set for yourself. In Ateneo, we often call the smart students who get As in all their subjects kuwatro kids because a numerical grade of 4.0 is the highest grade achievable in school. Other schools might have their own iterations, too, but the sentiment remains the same: that getting good grades equals being smart.

In the real world though, getting a bunch of As isn’t the sole indicator of just how smart and competent you are. There are other kinds of “intelligence” out there, not just the one we were taught to acknowledge since childhood. It’s all a matter of realizing which one you have. Here are a few you might recognize within yourselves:

You know how to handle emotions well.

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is one’s ability to “identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Being able to recognize your emotions for what they are—even the negative ones—and knowing how to handle them is a skill not many people have mastered.

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It also applies to being able to identify and help with other people’s emotions. If you’re the kind of friend your barkada would typically run to when they have problems because they trust your judgment, then kudos to you! It’s an admirable trait your friends need to appreciate more. 

You know how to interact and associate with different types of people.

We all know at least one person who has so many friends from different cliques, not just because they’re super friendly, but because they really know how to connect with different types of people. And nope, we’re not just talking about our extroverted friends, because even introverts can have this, too.

These are people who are able to adapt a broad perspective in life, the ones who can efficiently assess social situations and act accordingly, and can communicate with people even non-verbally. People are often drawn to this type of individuals because they know how to make a situation feel more comfortable for everyone who's in it, and that's something that would prove useful even in the professional realm.

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You know how to utilize your body and are aware of its limits.

When it’s UAAP season and teams are battling it out on the court, doesn’t it make you feel excited and proud when you’re rooting for your team, regardless of whether or not they won? Deep inside, we all have a certain admiration for athletes for the amount of discipline and athleticism they exhibit. We wish we could be as physically strong and skilled as they are, TBH. 

Many won’t often regard athletes as smart, but what they have can actually be considered “intelligence.” Athletes, dancers, performers, labor workers—they all have excellent physical control and refined body movement not a lot of people are blessed with. You may not be the type to get As in math or science, but you can be MVP material, and that’s something that should count, too.

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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