My Real-Life Fail at ‘Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader’ | Life After Brain Injury

inspireThis past week I applied for a part time position to tutor students in grades K-3 and help them with their reading skills.

I thought it would be a good way to give back  to the local community while earning a little extra money. Since reading/writing have always been my strongest skill set, I thought it would be an easy fit.

Boy, was I wrong.

I was required to take an online assessment for math and english to determine if I would qualify. It was a timed series of multiple choice questions …. keep in mind this is for grades K-3……

I did fine with the basic math questions, but once I had to figure out the next number in a series of numbers, I froze. And then there was a series of questions like “round is to circle as box is to square” and then the words I had never even seen before ….. the Q’s were SO freaking hard.

By some grace of fate, I ‘passed’ the test by their standards.  I felt like a complete fraud. I guessed at a majority of the questions, but because I am a skilled multiple choice guesser, I was able to barely squeak by.

Two and a half years ago, I would have aced this test with flying colors. I likely would have gotten 100% without a single guessed answer. But of course, that was before my brain injury.

Because I am high-functioning…. I sometimes forget that I am still dealing with a variety of deficits. When you are put face-to-face with those deficits, it can be incredibly frustrating and overwhelming. This test brought to the forefront all those feelings I had been harboring and pushing deep into the abyss.

I am grateful for this test.

It has reminded me that I while I am getting better every day, I am still not completely recovered. It was a reminder to give myself grace. It also gave me a milemarker to remind me of how far I have come, even if it isn’t 100%. It forced me to face my emotions once again, and to confront them and learn from them.

If my experience can help another survivor get through a rough patch, it was completely worth the frustration, humiliation, and aggravation. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns in my life, but I am extremely thankful to still have a life worth living!