I Am Not Unintelligent Sir, I Just Have A Life

After a long summer, we finally returned to school last Saturday. I was confident that it will be a great source of inspiration for my humble blog, and I wasn’t wrong. On my very second class, “Knowledge-Based Systems”, I was faced with something that I knew I should address here- despite having previously prepared a post for this week, which is now put on the shelf for some other time.

While explaining some principles of Artificial Intelligence, our professor wandered a little off topic- which happens often- to talk about human intelligence, more specifically our intelligence as Computer Science students. He wondered why some of us achieve below average grades while clearly we cannot be unintelligent, as we got high grades at high school to get into this faculty. He concluded that those- the ones with low grades- either do not work hard enough, which makes them unintelligent for neglecting their study, or are indeed, unintelligent (not smart enough)- I believe the word he used was “stupid”.

Now, with all due respect to my dear professor, I have to say that I completely disagree with his point of view. First off, and everyone knows that, in Egypt, achieving a high grade at high school does not have any significance on whether or not you are intelligent or smart. I will not go through the reasons for that as I would really rather not get into a debate about the status of the educational system in Egypt. Just thought I should give a quick reminder.

Second, let’s take a look at ourselves for a moment; we start going to university at the age of 18 or 19. I am going to go out on a limb here and say, after 18 or 19 years of submissions to the wills of our schools’ teachers, parents, and societies’ customs and traditions that are most of the times meaningless and absurd, we take off to a brand new world where all the previous restrictions seem to dissolve by the power of the word “university”; your professors and instructors do not care whether you listen to them or not, your parents suddenly decide that you are old enough to handle yourself, and the society… well, the society remains the same, except the rules are more lenient this time and can be easily bent, if not broken, with little or no punishment. In other words, when you are in Egypt, university years are the best years of your life.

With that being said, would you rather spend the best years of your life stuck to a desk or staring into a computer monitor the same way you did in the previous 14 or 15 years of your life instead of going out and exploring this new world called university life? Some people make that decision in order to become college professors in the future. I have to admit it, it is not a bad thing at all, being a professor has a certain “prestige” to it, and the pay is not bad either. However, to be a professor, you have to go through years of humiliation by the real professors, who will make your life a living hell until you get that PhD, not to mention that upon graduation, you will have to see your previous colleagues working in the private sector with monthly salaries that exceed what you make a year as a college instructor. I obviously know what I am talking about as my father is a professor and my sister is an assistant professor at the same university I go to. So, after all, is the prospect of being a professor, with all its bitter and sweet, worth wasting the best years of your life? Some would still say yes, I say no.

For three years now, I have been achieving slightly above average grades at school, and it is NOT because I am unintelligent, it is because I purposely do not work hard enough. My parents have always complained that I am “too smart” to get such low grades. Maybe I am, but I am also too smart not to waste the best years of my life and regret it later. I am definitely not trying to encourage you, my fellow students, to simply forget about studies and spend your time wandering about. I am asking you to work hard and play hard. I am asking you to try and find a balance between your work life and your equally important social life. It may seem difficult and sometimes impossible, but you have to try your best, so that you do not wake up someday in the future finding yourself old and unsuccessful, or even worse, unhappy.

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3 Responses to I Am Not Unintelligent Sir, I Just Have A Life

  1. What can I say, I’m completely with you bro.
    Keep Fire Burning … and never ever give up;)

    Mr Big Fan

  2. Usama Fath says:

    Dear brother,
    I’m glad to comment again on your blog to this laudable post, You are totally free of living your life the way you see, as you doesn’t hurt other people.

    The academic surpass in Egypt doesn’t reflect any type of intelligence from mentality to social intelligence, With all due respect for outstanding students.

    The base now in the Egyptian system of education is the dump student or imaging student that stores the lessons in his temporary/short memory of brain and spells it at exam time. or as one friend said using Copy Past Protocol (CPP) is the most suitable & successful solution for our system. The exception now is to find a smart, hardworking, successful student.

    but let me say that you have to be greedy and use any present chance you have, even if you’ve alternatives, because you do not know what would life brings to you.

    You concluded all the wisdom saying play hard to work hard, In Egypt we miss that definitely (compared to other nations). And i think this is the key for having a joyful life. Sorry for prolong.
    Yours,
    Usama

  3. Usama Fath says:

    i forgot to say that “You have a smart way of writing”.
    Wish you a smart year, a smart wife and job in the smart village at the era of the smart government.

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