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Book smart vs Street smart: Why Is There More To Life Than Having Straight As

Life

by Oluwaseun Kola-Fasanu

Is there really more to life than straight As?

Have you ever heard of the terms “book smart” and “street smart”? If you have not, here is what they mean.

The general definition of book smart is someone who is intelligent and very well educated academically. Book smart is an adjective describing a person whose knowledge greatly derives from book-learning, as opposed to practical experience, or “street smart”.

On the other hand, street smart is someone who has practical knowledge of how to accomplish something, as opposed to just having facts. Someone who is street smart knows how to deal with difficult or dangerous situations, especially in big cities. They are also described as streetwise.

More often than not, we try to classify ourselves and others into these two groups. We think that smart people have to be quiet and only read their books, while not so-smart people are the playful ones.

Then we have Ben, who is upper-class and well educated but less knowledgeable when it comes to handling important situations faced in bad neighborhoods and the streets. However, there is Ade, who is intelligent and knows how to handle important situations in the streets but is not as well-educated academically.

I am sure you can guess who the book-smart person is and who the street-smart person is among the two of them.

Even worse, we tend to think that book-smart people are naive, easily manipulated, and have bad judgments in bad situations, while street-smart people are unintelligent and incapable of achieving a higher education.

Now take a moment to think about this. I’m sure some people can relate to this, whether personally or with someone they know.

While school and society have taught us otherwise, the fact is that you’ll need more than straight As to thrive and stand out in today’s world. Yes, good grades are not only great, but they are also necessary to move to the next level in your academics. Getting good grades is something that every student should aspire to and work hard towards achieving.

But in today’s world, you’ll need more than this. The most in-demand skills in the world are a combination of academic and life skills. Creativity and innovative thinking, complex problem solving, analytical reasoning, people management, negotiation, and tech literacy are all skills that require two types of “smarts.”

As you work hard in school to get those high grades, don’t forget that you also need intelligence gained outside of school. You can start by learning these four:

1. Interpersonal Relationships: Knowing what questions to ask and not asking too many, as well as being polite, friendly, and assertive.

2. Common Sense: Knowing who you can trust and what areas of town are good and bad, for example.

3. Self-defense; knowing how to fight and defend yourself against an attacker, particularly if you are small.

4. Good intuition: knowing when people are trying to cheat you, being able to read people’s intentions.

My advice

The goal is BALANCE! Don’t fall into the stereotypes of thinking that one is more important than the other; both are highly essential in today’s world. The people that thrive and stand out are those that are able to mix both perfectly.

Why is balance important in life?

Striking a balance helps you lead a happy and contented life. It ensures your growth as an individual and secures your mental peace and wellbeing. It helps you dream bigger: By maintaining a healthy balance, you secure your future.

So, smash your examinations and get those grades, but as you do that, join clubs and groups that teach you how to relate and work with people. You need both!

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