Friday, April 27, 2007

How to Feel Like an Underachiever

I was talking with my buddy Don, and he said that he ran into an old high school classmate the other day. She told him that she was in her second year of medical school at the UC Irvine School of Medicine after leaving her job as a software consultant and spending three years of postgrad education. WTF? I ended up Googling her and found an article from two years ago when she received an award from Cal State Fullerton for outstanding academic achievement and community service. What the hell am I doing?

She was a bright student, but not in the realm of the geeks and nerds that I occupied. Sure, her brother went to Harvard and played football, and she went to the University of Virginia, but I was supposed to be one of the ones who ended up being a doctor or lawyer or at least something with a modest “wow” and “ooo” factor and some degree of success. Instead, I’m a washed-up basketball coach who’s lost his taste for the game working part of the time for a low mid-major basketball conference (can’t get to calling it a low major, since the Big West is ranked #16 out of 32 conferences by Ken Pomeroy) and part-time for a fledgling athlete-training company. At least I’m married and have the coolest daughter in the world (she scared me yesterday a little bit, but you can read that here).

To top that, I just saw a video on a girl in Michigan that will leave the rest of you awestruck as well. Nicole Matisse is a nineteen-year old student at the University of Michigan. She will be graduating in August with a degree in psychology and will attend the Wayne State University law school in the fall. It will take her one calendar year to graduate, and she is currently maintaining a 4.0 G.P.A.

Apparently, she learned to multiply at age 3 (I’m guessing - hoping - she memorized her times tables) and was reading at a fifth-grade level when she was five. She’d breezed through high school classes and ended up passing eight AP tests and taking JC classes which allowed her to enter Michigan as a junior last year. She started with nineteen units her first quarter, went to TWENTY-SEVEN her second, is taking twenty-three this spring, and seven during the summer. Oh, and she wants to write a book about her experience before enters law school.

My real problem with her? She looks and acts too normal. Aren’t kids who do this sort of thing supposed to be geeky-looking and/or socially awkward? Isn’t that supposed to be the tradeoff? Here’s a shot of Nicole and her mom, Pamela Naboychik.

Let Nicole Matisse make you feel inadequate via or read about her in the Detroit News.

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