HPI and schooling: failure and success

I am HPI and I have not failed at school!

I enjoy reading more and more articles and books on High Potential. Finally, these atypical profiles, which were little-known just a few years ago, are now recognized and even accepted.

But, as with any high-profile subject, many clichés have emerged and become associated with HPI. It’s been a very long time since I wrote a personal article on Follow the Zebra the release of season 2 of HPI (starring the brilliant Audrey Fleurot) was an opportunity to tell you a little about my experience.

HPI without DYS

I was identified “late”, at the age of 30 (already 5 years ago, OH MY GOD!). I’m not depressed, I don’t see it as a burden, I have a social life, a job (several, in fact), I’m in a relationship and I’ve never failed at school or been mistreated by teachers (in fact, it was quite the opposite!). I definitely have ADHD and will be going to counseling soon.

Is an HPI necessarily a failure at school?

Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a post on Linkedin by someone who was explaining why HPI people were not suited to study in the national education system. However, I did survive for 20 years as a student in the French education system, alternating between public and private schools.

When you’re different, you need to make a few adjustments! But just because you’re HPI doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in national education! At the time, there were very few alternative schools of the Arborescences, MeeO, Montessori, Steiner etc. type.

Seeing that the school system wouldn’t adapt to me, I adapted! Yes, yes, you read that right, I HAVE ADAPTED. You can be HPI and have these abilities, even if you have a somewhat difficult sense of compromise. In the end, I’m even convinced that adaptation and resilience are our greatest strengths.

HPI and school: between adaptation and resilience

Profiles are often associated with HPI with divergent thinking (arborescent in common parlance). To be gifted is to have an out-of-the-box mind that thinks outside the box. We often forget that this speed of information processing helps us to identify the stakes in a situation very quickly, and to analyze our environment very accurately. This makes it very easy to decipher the expectations of the parties in a given system, whether in a personal or professional context.

At a very young age, I quickly understood how school worked and what was expected of me. You had to reach at least 10 to have peace of mind. If, on top of that, you wanted to be well thought of by teachers and parents, you added a bit of glibness and repartee so as not to be too light-headed and endearing. The right balance, character, but without overdoing it.

Can you adapt to the school system if you have HPI?

As the years went by, I adapted, but without donning my chameleon costume. I’m one of those HPIs (just people) who can’t play a role. I’m too raw, too frank, too whole.

Generally speaking, if I liked the teacher, things went well and the grades followed. On the other hand, if things didn’t work out with the trainer, I did the bare minimum to keep up. In junior high school, I lived on what I had and that worked until the third grade.

In second year, I quickly identified the subjects I was very good at, and for the rest, I made clever calculations to get a mark that would allow me to aim for my goal! I no longer wanted to be at the head of the class, but only to continue with a satisfactory average. I was thinking of doing post-baccalaureate studies. I didn’t want to overdo it, but I didn’t want to mess up my file either.

I am HPI and have repeated a year (twice!)

In the first year of high school, my parents encouraged me to follow a scientific path. I had the ability, but not thedesire! Suffice it to say that I didn’t do it by halves. Last term, 5 average in maths and physics. The school kindly redirected me into economics.

I never considered this reorientation as an academic failure. I deliberately sabotaged my year. I wanted to study in ES with literary options and an interesting SVT program. I took advantage of my scientific sabbatical to read in the library and it was great! The economics stream was a long, quiet river until my baccalaureate, which I passed with honors.

HPI, studies and imposter syndrome

I never really felt like I was working!

Looking back over my career, I can’t help but think of imposter syndrome. I never really felt like I was working. Sometimes I got bored… But I also had a lot of fun! Fun with the system, fun with the subjects, fun with the teachers, fun with my friends.

I went touniversity and there it was again! I played with the system for 6 years to validate my different years and obtain a double master’s degree. I loved studying! I loved university. I have exceptional memories of my years in the first and last years of secondary school. I became a teacher !

I’m HPI and I say thank you to the national education system! (Hallelujah)

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not apologizing for national education. I donate 1% of my sales to the Arborescences network of schools for neuro-atypicals every year. Having 35 pupils per class and no resources or educational innovation for 150 years doesn’t seem to me to be the best way of motivating the troops! Sometimes, however, there’s something for everyone. My best friends are people I met in high school and university.

HPI, every journey is unique

  • You can be an HPI and still love school.
  • You can be HPI and not be failing at school.
  • You can be HPI and still be smart enough to surf the advantages (or flaws) of our school system.

Of course, with some teachers, it didn’t work at all.
Of course, when I was given too many limits, I literally went into a tailspin.
Yes, I’ve disrespected and talked back to some teachers and sometimes even stormed out of class. But, thanks to this, I’ve also learned to apologize and question myself. To understand that my behavior hadn’t always been right.

Even though I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with HPI, I also understood, thanks to the school system, that I was different and that I was going to have to adapt. It was scary and unsettling! But it was also educational…

Finally, the world of work (and, more broadly, the world we live in) is not adapted to what is outside the norm. We live in a community, so it’s important to know when you can adapt and when you can afford to step outside the box.

What if, as an HPI, I can’t adapt to the school system?

If you have HPI and don’t fit in with the mainstream school system, you can turn to alternative systems as mentioned above.

If you want to continue your studies in higher education, the CNED offers distance learning courses.

Unsupported schooling can be very complicated for a person with high potential. Friends are important, as are teachers and educational teams. If you don’t feel comfortable in a class or in a school, don’t wait until you’ve had a breakdown – change!

You can also find more information, resources and tools on Giftedness in Mel POINASbook. With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her giftedness and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!

Le livre

Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.

To go further, you can read

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