CFNN Reporter Sydney Pate
Leaving the rest of your classmates in the dust academically sounds like a dream. Being the smart one that all the kids come to for help sounds really good. Being the only 3rd grader reading on a 9th grade level and doing algebra sounds really cool until you realize that these are symptoms of future Gifted Kid Burnout Syndrome (GKBS).
Being in the gifted student program in elementary school usually means a child is given more challenging work to appease the child’s quick mind. The child is miles ahead of his or her classmates and has never needed to “try” in school. In elementary school, this “gifted” child is often pulled out of class to go with another adult and to learn more difficult concepts. Because of this, the child can get bored in regular classes, and even sometimes have trouble making friends.
In middle school gifted students from the elementary schools are put into the same classes. After being unchallenged in elementary school, suddenly being thrust into a class with students on the same level can be intimidating. This can also cause competition among students. A little competition can be a healthy thing, but feeling like you have to compete for the best grades can be exhausting as the year progresses.
During high school things can start to go downhill for the gifted students. This is when we really start to see GKBS. This syndrome often includes the lack of motivation but also the fear of failure. Because of this the gifted student will experience an “academic burnout.” This is when school is no longer easy, but they never learned how to study so their grades may start to drop or they have to work harder to keep up with others. (Not to be confused with senioritis which happens exclusively with seniors and is the lack of work altogether.) After the early years of never having to try in school, and then suddenly being thrust into a constant competition these students are exhausted. Gifted students were always praised for being ahead of their classmates, but over time, the expectation to remain “ahead” persists. Although they feel as if they aren’t as smart as they used to be, they still strive for perfection to get the praise they used to receive.