Being Brilliant: Not Enough

My students get more than a literature education in my class, though we do focus on that primarily. This week, twice, in the discussions before school started, being brilliant, being in a well-paid field, and doing well were discussed.

This discussion of a cartoon from Common Room is exactly what we discussed.

My students were discussing the fact that they should get a CPA since one friend with a great internship made $15,000 one summer. I told them my aunt had a CPA and, though she was a hard worker, she never made more than $30,000 a year. Now she lives in a trailer on the river in San Angelo. She came to her degree late and worked for different universities around the country. But they never hired her full-time, so she was always working a while and then moving on.

My brother has a law degree and his wife has a veterinary degree and they live in a rented trailer house out in the country. They’re both brilliant but my brother didn’t do well in school and is working a low paying real estate law job that barely pays. And my sister-in-law has finished her PhD and is now doing a post doc which pays about the same. They make a bit more than minimum wage for high and difficult education.

Being brilliant is not enough.

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