16 Former “Gifted” Kids Share What They’re Doing Now

Growing up in the 80s, there was quite an emphasis on getting into the “gifted” program. No one talked critically to the other kids about what it meant, we all just assumed those were the smartest of the kids.

Sure, we were a little bit jealous that they got to leave class and do fun stuff the rest of us didn’t, but honestly it was no big deal.

For the kids who were in the gifted program, it could be a bit more of a “deal,” though, and so we’re curious – what and how are they doing now?

16. Find your thing.

I went into a profession that is less about being “gifted” and more about being personable.

I studied Funeral Science and all my peers and high school students thought it would be a waste of my time and talents, yet 27 years later, here I am.

I actually own my own Funeral Home where we provide affordable funerals and cremations and enjoy helping others through the rough times in their lives.

15. Please answer the question.

I was “gifted” in elementary school. Looking back, I realize that I was just average in a below average school district lmao.

14. Like a slap in the face.

Went to law school, which I stupidly thought would be a breeze because high school and college were.

Quickly discovered that everyone there was “gifted” and the professors didn’t give a f*ck about our prior achievements or LSAT scores, etc. Had to really work hard for the first time in my academic life and definitely did not breeze through with As.

The first year absolutely sucked since I had to develop actual study skills and couldn’t procrastinate all the time. It was really good for me.

Got through, I’m a partner in my (tiny) firm and I have two “gifted” kids I’m trying to raise to have a better work ethic and study skills than I had.

13. The best of both worlds.

Chemist during the week. Drummer on weekends.

Formulator. 33 years. Beverage, Personal Care, Industrial and Institutional, Pharmaceutical, Herbicide, Pet Care, Wound Care.

12. Success!

I’m a doctor, been aiming for this since I was 10! Finally succeeded 18 months ago.

11.  Sounds about right.

Scrolling through reddit making a fake personality with a more impactful and fun life than I will ever live.

10. Some things never change.


the thing about those “gifted” classes is they don’t provide you with any work ethic. as a kids we were just expected to meet the criteria, and we expected it too. now as sh%t gets harder in life, a lot of us procrastinate and slack off.

9. He’s got it right now.

After a long battle with depression and burnout at university, I’ve found repairing electronics to be quite soothing/rewarding. I think mostly, because it’s very clear when a project is done (it was broken, now its not), which really removes the pressure and anxiety of failing to live up to people’s expectations.

I also have a wonderful partner and a very handsome cat.

8. Still learning how to problem solve.

Panic attacks over the idea of failing. “Gifted” children more often than not weren’t taught to work hard because they just ‘naturally got it’, so they grow up not knowing how to problem solve and tackle difficulties in healthy ways and thus are extremely paranoid over the idea of not being the best.

7.  Sounds like he needs a cat.

Failed out of 3 different degrees, went to work at an IT Help Desk from the bottom up and didn’t go back to school until I hit the promotional ceiling.

That’s the professional story, the personal story is a 10+ year battle with varying degrees of depression for the same reason. Honestly the most damning one is reviewing all of this shit and thinking to myself “so many other people have succeeded with much less, what kind of f*ck up gets handed these opportunities and still fails?”

6. He’s still not sure.

Teachers at my school encouraged my parents to have me skip a grade. I wanted to, but my parents said no in the end. I never really tried pushing myself with school after that, but getting valedictorian didn’t seem that hard.

Post college, I have a decent engineering job, but live a very passive life and basically don’t try new things unless I think I can do amazing.

Even playing video games… I tend to, as my friends say, “take a game and beat it into submission” by playing way more hours than others and studying any info I can find from the internet.

I still feel like a failure when I end up playing with someone better than me…

5. Always praise the effort.

I was praised for my intelligence, not my work ethic.

I got lazy as f*****ck.

I’m trying to instill into my children that hard work and practice is more important than being able to figure it out first try. I praise the effort, not the end result. I hope this works out better for them.

4. A fear of failure.

I concur about the failing. I was a weird case where I was considered “smart” and “gifted,” but my grades were absolute shit. I lost count of the amount of adults that gave me the “you’re not living up to your potential” lecture. My grades were Bs and Cs and I disappointed everybody around me consistently.

Failure is a really hot-button issue for me after so many years of being told that I wouldn’t fail if I would just try harder. I had an experience at work last year where I was passed over for a promotion that I desperately wanted, and it gave me suicidal thoughts.

Anyway, I was diagnosed with ADHD last summer, and that explained a lot. I fell through the cracks because I’m female, and girls weren’t often diagnosed with ADHD in the 90s/00s. Now I take Adderall and I feel like a normal person.

3. I don’t think this was the goal.

I have major imposter syndrome – I’m terrified of failing and people suddenly no longer deeming me worthy of anything, or thinking I’m not smart enough

2. Oof.

Being the family disappointment. High school left me with severe anxiety and depression from bullying and I dropped out because stress was killing me.

But on the bright side I’m in a very loving relationship for the first time in my life and we’re about to move into an actual house together and start a new life, and I never thought I would be here.

1. No one understands.

Graduated 6th in my class in high school, highest ranking senior to drop out.

I have absolutely no intent of ever going back.

Not to say I didn’t stop learning, I love to learn. I just got tired of the games in academia, not to mention I couldn’t afford it even with the scholarships and grants I did get. So I left. I was an English major anyway so I just stopped seeing the point of going and taking classes I didn’t want to take (core classes). I was bored in high school and so disappointed to find college was more of the same but even worse.

So I left. No one understands and always asks me when I’m going back. Yeah…..that’s a no from me.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty happy with being average. Ha!

If you’re a former gifted kid, update us on your status down in the comments.