Your intellect is just one of many factors that determine the social hierarchy in school, and there always seems to be one genius in every grade. But sometimes there’s a school genius who the school boasts about because of their later-in-life accomplishments, claiming to be the root of their intellect. Other times, school geniuses take different, unexpected routes. Here are 42 stories about what some of the most successful and not so successful former classmates got up to after graduation.
1. The Kid Who Liked Explosives
There was a kid who made high-grade explosives. He was a little weird, socially awkward, but he was a nice guy. You know the age where you mess around with firecrackers and match heads? He was the same, except he was smarter—not wiser—than you or me. So, he ordered various chemicals from the internet and ended up triggering the online companies into informing the police.
Armed police kicked his family’s door in at 3 AM and stormed the place. The bomb squad examined the stuff he’d made. Apparently, it was pretty much a stable plastic explosive, but they still had to take it out into the fields behind his house and destroy it. He got away with little more than a caution and some court-ordered counseling.
I fell out of touch with him, but Facebook stalking reveals that he went to Cambridge to study physics, he now designs the software certain companies use to trade on the stock market, he married the daughter of a Hong Kong investment banker, and he splits his time between his apartment in Hong Kong and house in London.
2. The Kid Who Scored 100% on Everything (But P.E.)
This guy that I went to school with had a 100% final score for almost everything except PE. He speaks four languages fluently. The French teacher even once apologized because she had to give him a 9.8 for his final exam as he made a minor mistake somewhere. He went to do IT and is now a programmer at a bank. I still see him regularly.
The best thing? He remains a nice guy. He’s not some pompous smarter-than-thou dude. He’s never gloating or boasting about what he’s doing.
3. The Kid Who Still Holds the Record of the Highest Score
I’m still friends with the smartest guy in my school—and pretty much that I’ve ever met. His university entrance score was the highest my high school has ever had before or since. He’s married to a great woman and has a couple of terrific kids. He is a VP at a global chemicals company. And he’s still a terrific bloke.
4. The Kid Who Was Weird but Smart
My high school was a gifted school. With the exception of scholarship purposes, we all went to top 30 universities. But still…I didn’t meet a real genius until I went to college. This guy, one year above me, went on College Jeopardy and annihilated everyone. He was tens of thousands of dollars ahead of everyone every round. He won overall.
He graduated from our school, then went to our rival, MIT, and got his PhD. And now he’s a principal engineer at Intel. One of my friends knew him personally. He said he was weird. But being weird is kind of normal in nerd haven.
5. The Kid Who Was Awkward
My school’s genius was painfully awkward and socially inept, but still a pretty nice guy. Perfect score on the ACT and the SATs. I have no idea where he chose to go to school. He owns his own lighting design company along with his wife, who is an interior decorator. They just bought their third vacation home.
6. The Kid Who Works at NASA at 25
My school’s genius that we always knew would have greatness is just starting to advance in his career, we’re 25. He just landed a job with NASA. He was also the kindest person in our friend group, always looked out for everyone.
7. The Kid Who Was from a Small Town and Got into Yale
My friend Ian was the smartest kid in school. He was two grades above me, got a perfect score on SAT, and actually wrote the skeleton of a play for the drama club. Me and some other people higher up in the club all sat down with him and our drama teacher and did some editing like made lines shorter, easier to memorize, since he used really big words, and added or changed characters so we could use more people in the production.
He jokingly applied to Yale just to see what would happen. He actually got in and they really wanted him to go, but he couldn’t afford the tuition there. He ended up going to Michigan Tech. I don’t remember what his major is.
8. The Kid Who Got Fired
He got a job right out of high school for the best gaming company in our country—basically our local Google. His starting salary was bigger than my parents’, who’ve worked the same job for 10 years. He spent every paycheck on video games, and was fired after like three months for being lazy. He decided to take a break year and mostly stayed at home playing video games.
He actually met his current girlfriend playing Counter-Strike, so he has that going for him.
9. The Kid Who Discovered Sex and Alcohol
This guy was beyond “genius” I mean just knew a little bit of everything, was the valedictorian, etc. He was rather sheltered by his own choosing. Got a full-ride scholarship to MIT. But then it all went downhill. In his first semester, he discovered he really, really liked sex and alcohol. He ended up dropping out after that first year and had a pretty messed up life for a decade or so.
Something, I don’t know what, woke him up and he turned himself around and is currently an executive for one of the world’s largest construction firms.
10. The Kid Whose Best Friend was the Jock
I went to a small high school about 70 kids per grade in Kansas. The genius from the grade above me works at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. He was a really good dude. The best story that stuck out for me is about when he used to hang out with another guy named Erik, who was pretty hardcore football player and wrestling no one wanted to mess with.
One day I heard a teacher say jokingly “It’s scary they hang out together because that guy is smart enough to build a bomb, and Erik is crazy enough to use it.”
11. The Kid Who Was Nine in High School Calculus Class
There was a nine-year-old in my high school calculus class. He actually was eligible to go to university, but his parents wanted to keep him in a more controlled environment until he was a bit older. He went to the elementary school for gifted children in the morning so that he could socialize with kids his own age and then high school for advanced classes in the afternoon.
He ended up starting university at 12. He is now a world-renowned concert pianist. I was in Berlin a few years ago and saw a billboard with him on it, advertising for his upcoming performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker. I wanted to go see him play, but I was leaving too early.
12. The Kid Who Switched His Major to Physics Because He Thought It Was Fun
The guy in my school was an unbelievably humble and lovely guy. He didn’t join in with any class messing about / jokes, but would never judge others for how they chose to spend their time. He studied Biology and Chemistry at A levels (16-18) at school and went on to do Natural Sciences at Cambridge with a focus on Biology.
I then heard that after two years he decided Physics interested him more so he swapped to physics having not studied physics since he was 15. He then went on to get a first with honors from Trinity College Cambridge in that field. The guy was unreal.
13. The Kid(s) Who Got into Ivy League Schools (Except the Astronaut)
We had at least three or four and they all went on to Ivy League colleges, except for the one I knew as more than just an acquaintance. He went to an in-state college for the tuition and now works for NASA in their Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a Langley Intern. They were all VERY nice people. Another is also working at NASA, but I forget which department/division.
Finally, one’s a doctor in Massachusetts who does a bunch for charity and does Doctors Without Borders all the time. I don’t know why we had an abnormal amount of geniuses in the years I went to middle/high school, but we were slammed. Still, they were the nicest, most humble people I ever met and 10/10, would sleep next to them in Chemistry again.
14. The Kid Who Got Rejected by MIT
There were a couple. One got rejected from MIT, ended up going to Cal Tech and now works at JPL. There’s actually an interview of him going around talking about one of the Mars rovers. He’s still comically awkward.
15. The Kid Who’s Living his Best Life
We had a couple, and the one who was my buddy had a small business in high school where he built computers to spec for people and was like a part-time IT guy for a couple of businesses. He’s working a higher-up position for Microsoft now and is living his best life. We don’t really keep in touch more than sporadically due to us both being crazy busy all the time, but I’m super proud of him.
He was always very kind and sweet, and it never occurred to him how smart and talented he was, he genuinely just liked to help people and loves technology. He’s a great guy in general, 10/10, would befriend again.
16. The Kid Who Was a Jerk
There was a guy I went to grammar school with had an IQ equal to Albert Einstein’s—this is at the school that Isaac Newton went to—and he was a complete jerk. Went on the news saying “all my friends call me genius,” which was a total lie. I’m pretty sure he became a stoner and went into graphic design or something.
17. The Kid Who Was a Freshman at 12
I knew a genius in high school who jumped two grades. He was 12 as a freshman. He was first seat in Symphony Orchestra, attracted all of the girls’ attention, and excelled in every class including Calculus AB and Physics II. This kid was pretty humble and introverted but showed signs of mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
I saw him last year in high school just randomly shaking his head and arm and returning back to normal, like nothing had happened.
18. The Kid Who Had a School Started for Him
My school was literally started for him. His parents had homeschooled him and while they were both extremely intelligent, they wanted him to have a high school for some reason. So, they got a charter school started his freshman year. I have no idea where he is or what he’s doing.
19. The Kid Who Was Officially a Genius
Yup. She was a literal genius and had the papers to prove it. And despite being ridiculously ahead of everyone in the school, she was so nice. She didn’t mind helping us idiots. She was also very pretty and popular with just about everyone. I have no clue where she is now in life. Hopefully, she’s not depressed or wasting away.
20. The Kid Who Got Away with Breaking the Rules
There was a kid who cussed at teachers and even the principal and never got kicked out because he was the only person to hold our reputation. He was never in classes yet he scored highest every time. He also started guitar, reached grade eight, and stopped playing guitar in less than a year and proceeded to drums. He’s now at MIT.
21. The Kid Who Can Do Everything
My friend was incredibly smart, aced any class he wanted to easily, and could pick up any talent in less than a week—leader of the chess club, an uncontested champion, and he also learned how to juggle in a week. He was pretty much the best at sound and tech for a theatre class. Anything with strategy I wouldn’t even play against him because you can only have such a low probability of winning before it’s zero and the thing isn’t fun.
He’s working in a steel factory now trying to figure out which passion to pursue. He’s thinking sound design or something like that. He’s helping me put together a gaming computer, he can fix his own car with the right parts, is an MtG champion, is currently learning German, which has been breezy for him. He’s not where he wants to be in life but I’m really proud of him.
Yeah, he’s smart, but he’s super dedicated to anything he does. He also has the amazing skill of not being cripplingly awkward. He’s got some problems empathizing, but everyone needs a weakness.
22. The Kid Who Didn’t Succeed
He was my frenemy. He got a full-ride scholarship to a Division 1 school for legitimate academic excellence. Had a seven-figure job as eventual head of his family’s company waiting for him. All he had to do was finish college. But then, he quit college two years in—and it got worse from there. He ran a business that his parents bought him into the ground.
Soon after, the DUIs started, and his driver’s license is now gone, ostensibly for life. He now works as a crappy bartender and plays in awful bands. His kid’s baby mama lives with him and their terror of a kid in the four-bedroom almost-mansion his parents gave him after it was revealed he could no longer drive. I’ll never understand why he didn’t at the very least finish college.
But since he apparently has a huge safety net made out of money, he will likely never have to be accountable. Ever.
23. The Kids Who Were Technically Geniuses
I don’t really like the term genius. To me, it seems like the kind of title you can only designate after the fact, usually after someone is dead or at least retired. The school I attended was selective so almost everyone was pretty smart except maybe a few sporting heroes that scraped through grade-wise but got a free pass from the school.
One guy was extremely intelligent even in a school where most were above average. We were put into different groups for all our subjects according to ability and he was in the top group for everything. He never dropped a grade. I shared a few classes with him for literature and foreign languages. He was highly musical, playing a couple of instruments at the highest level, adept at languages, one of the best in math. He was proficient in French, German, and Latin by 18.
Well, he did well for himself. He studied modern languages and then went on to qualify as a lawyer in post-grad. But now we’re much older seeing him made me realize that all those skills didn’t translate into real-world application. It’s not like he’s poor; he’ll always have a job with his education, but he’s not exactly setting the world on fire.
It’s also pretty clear that he’s socially limited and doesn’t have the common touch with ordinary people, and ultimately that’s what counts when it comes to working your way up a social hierarchy. Plenty of kids that performed poorly in school are now stinking rich from opening businesses or climbing the corporate ladder.
I do wonder how much of his alleged genius was just the result of a fantastic memory that trivialized education for him. He’s a nice person and is doing alright, but in my experience being a school genius doesn’t always work out. Another friend went the science route, got their PhD, and is well-respected academic in their field, but seeing them outside of that context, they seem almost behind the curve in terms of personal development and, again, don’t seem to have things as figured out as the people inside their world probably think.
Ultimately, the things that will get you marked out as a genius while at school are really just some very specific types of intelligence that aren’t always the most useful in adulthood. The kid that masters piano to a high standard in two years will be called a genius, but the guy who takes five years to get good might end up being the better musician.
The kid doing university-level mathematics at 16 will be called a genius, but the one that goes at a regular pace might end up discovering a new theorem or proving an old one. Even the kid that is fantastic at a language and aces all the tests might still struggle to have a decent conversation in the real world despite having all the words.
In my opinion, school rewards a very superficial type of intelligence that appears impressive and marks you out as better than your peers. Once you’re older, you’ll realize that many of those kids who were considered really smart by teachers have all the depth of a puddle, and don’t really continue to grow and learn in adulthood.
24. The Kid Who Helped Professors Teach
I went to school with this guy that transferred from an all gifted school. He was socially awkward but I also thought he was gay—I’m also gay and we try to stick together—and I was right. We became friends and he helped me with Calculus and I helped him improve his social awkwardness. He taught himself French and Russian in high school because he was bored.
He went to Harvard and got a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics. He also began helping professors teach in their classes by sophomore year. He currently speaks six languages—something he does with his spare time—and is married to a great guy in Colorado. He’s currently working on a law degree, because why not, and works for a donut company because that’s what he likes to do.
He’s a really genuine and nice guy.
25. The Kid Who’ll Be President
He was basically perfect. He was an amazing writer, a respectable musician, the school’s star track athlete, and the valedictorian. He was also popular and well adjusted. He had perfect scores on all of the AP tests and near-perfect scores on the SATs, ACTs, and everything else. He went to West Point, graduated, and is probably going to be a general one day.
After that, he’ll run for political office and will eventually become president.
26. The Kid Who Dropped out to Play Diablo 3
By the third month of seventh grade, he had finished all of the math workbooks that were to last until twelfth grade. He waited until grade nine to take on Calculus and Physics. He graduated with high honors and dropped out of college in his second year to play Diablo 3. As far as I know, he still lives with his parents.
27. The Kid Who’s Still Referred to as the School Genius
The smart guy in our school was pretty much the star pupil in all regards bar sports—he has hilariously bad hand-eye coordination. He was probably the best musician the school had even though he had dropped the subject educationally since he was 14 to focus on the three sciences and math, which he later aced for A-Level, the UK equivalent of SATs.
Recreationally, he did scouting and the like. Socially, he was well regarded by teachers and students—he got Head Boy in our final year for being just a downright good lad. The year above and below actually referred to the high achiever from their year as “The <insert my mate’s name here> of their year.” The best thing about all this is he was still somehow the nicest guy in the school.
He was friendly to newcomers, he never looked down on anyone or any of their interests, and he didn’t like bragging about tests and stuff. Everyone including me would automatically almost disregard his achievements in tests and stuff because he was just expected to ace everything. I remember someone was saying something to this effect to him and I, in an attempt to poke fun at him, said: “Nah, he’s actually super dumb—he just has to work über hard to pretend he’s smarter than the rest of us.”
He was beaming at this and thanked me, saying it’s the best thing someone could have said about him, because one of us actually bothered to acknowledge that he worked for it and wasn’t just born smart. He’s still one of my best friends and he seems pretty happy and set for life. if not exhausted and constantly busy, as he’s a doctor now.
28. The Kid Who Preferred the Simple Life
That would be my best friend. He was skipped ahead two grades in elementary school. In middle school, he learned how to code in HTML and Java, and in the 90s, he made websites for various businesses and doctors in the area. He used the money he made to start a business while attending college for a computer science degree.
His business was PC assembly and repair and he ran a major operation near his university that serviced many of the students there. He taught himself board repair and learned a huge amount of schematics. He got married after college. His wife insisted they move back closer to her family, and he obliged. He closed his business and figured he’d restart in her town: Nowhere, Montana. Population: Old.
He moved in 2007, right before the economy collapsed and all the job growth in tech ceased completely. He now works IT at a local bank, making $18 an hour. The good news is, he likes the quiet country life. He likes the easy cushy job that lets him dabble and goof off 90% of the time. And he loves his wife more than anything.
The dude should be a multi-billionaire tech guru but found a new calling for a simple life.
29. The Kid Who Was Like a Walking Google
I knew a guy who knew absolutely everything. If he didn’t know something, he would master knowledge of it immediately. He was like a walking Google; I could ask him whatever came to mind and he could usually give a detailed and relatable answer. He was perfectly normal as well, and he never ever flaunted his intelligence in an annoying way.
I remember about seven years ago he was telling me about Bitcoin and how this new digital currency would be the future. He used to buy us pot off the Silk Road with it. He fell off years ago though and never goes on Facebook. I suspect he managed to cash out a pretty penny with whatever Bitcoin he had and went to live a quiet life somewhere.
30. The Kids Who Was a Baby Genius
There was this girl at the age of six to eight months who could speak full sentences, identify colors, and read. By 10, she was already in HS due to her high IQ. She was also multitalented in music and was able to play a variety of instruments. She was in a lot of milk and vitamin commercials along with other child prodigies. But there was a dark side to it all.
Her mom, from what I heard from her classmates and from social media, became a very, very greedy Momager-type, using her as a way to earn money via endorsements and enrolling her in various higher classes and programs rather than letting her be a normal 10-12-year-old. I remember seeing her in school, always with a stoic face.
When she got into college, she kept changing courses and degrees because she felt lost when it came to what she really wanted to do. She eventually rebelled against her mom and at around 19, decided that she would pursue professional photography, which was a hobby of hers. She now works for an ad agency as a pro photographer for fashion and magazine shoots.
She is doing well in this stage of life given her crazy, turbulent teens with her family.
31. The Kid Who Became a Neurosurgeon
I taught high school biology to a kid very good at the subject. He was popular, friendly and joked around with the others in the class, made no notes. But he could answer any question and explain any concept if I called him out for messing around. He just understood how things worked before I could explain them. I asked him about it and he just shrugged and said it made sense the first time I said it, he didn’t need anything further.
He’s a neurosurgeon now, so I guess he worked harder at university.
32. The Kid Who Was Hunter
Hunter was a physically imposing dude. He worked out more than he went to class. Incredible athlete. Hunter was dangerously smart. He would show up on test days, ace whatever was thrown his way, and not show up to the following weeks of class. Hunter was also sort of a jerk. He was smarter than you and bigger than you. Thankfully, I was Hunter’s friend.
He wouldn’t pick on anyone, but if you got on his bad side you probably weren’t going to enjoy it. Hunter really didn’t have a solid parental unit and it showed. He’s a pretty lost person. He tried restaurant management, tried undergrad, and tried the military. No idea what he’s doing now. He made some bad decisions and I think he’s in/was in legal trouble.
I know he’s alive and still talks to a few of our mutual friends. Hunter had the most potential I have ever seen in my entire life. While I won’t call it wasted, I don’t think we ever really scratched the surface of Hunter’s ability to do basically anything he put his mind to.
33. The Kids Who Went the Other Way
Most of them did nothing beyond college. They all at some point rebelled and went wild against the massive expectations. The girl who was going to go to Julliard ended up running away from home, getting hooked on drugs, and “ruined” everything before coming back, straightening up and becoming a nurse. The math genius who won awards and full rides to college ended up having some kind of mental breakdown, and now he helps run one of the YMCA-like places.
Hell, even I was supposed to be some “genius” and I used it all to make video games. Too many people bought into the belief that everyone has to be great and huge and famous and do BIG THINGS. When really, it’s way more important to be functional and take care of your life. Paying bills and doing the things that make you happy are way more important than being “known” for your intellect.
34. The Kid Who Was a Stunt Double in The Walking Dead
Knew a dude in middle/high school who has extremely high functioning ADHD. He would be the type to say “I want to learn French,” then puts out a freestyle rap in French like a month later. He was the lead singer in a band in eighth grade, avid skater, tightrope walker, and an acrobat. He basically had a knack for learning things super quick.
He became the World Sign Spinning Champion a few years back, was a stunt double for Glen in The Walking Dead, and most recently appeared in Logic’s new music video, “Icy.” I’m really happy for him.
35. The Kid Who Lived up the Road
When I was six years old, my family moved to a new neighborhood. I became best friends with the kid who lived about six houses up the block from me. We both went to the same school, but not the same class. Our classes were in different parts of the building, so during the school day, I never laid eyes on him inside the school building.
So, I do not know what his grades were. Outside of school, we never discussed school. But at age three, he began playing the piano and composing his own music. By the time I moved into the neighborhood, he had already been at it for a few years. He had a Baby Grand Baldwin piano, or it could have been a full-sized Baldwin grand piano, I can’t recall.
He practiced it every day. His parents never forced him or told him to practice. He loved it and did it out of his own free will. He could play them all: Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Bach, Chopin, etc., you name it. Whenever I came over his place to hang out, he would always interrupt our playing to go practice on the piano. This would irritate me because I had no interest in playing musical instruments or music, least of all classical music, which bored me to tears.
My childhood interests were in the usual things: TV shows, cartoons, movies, toys, comic books, junk food, etc. The only time I was grateful when he practiced on his piano was when his family had their Christmas tree up and decorated in their living room. Being dirt poor, my family couldn’t afford a Christmas tree and decorations. I much admired my friend’s Christmas tree.
It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw and when he went to practice the piano, it gave me time to stare and admire his Christmas tree. One time I came over his place and his older sister was giving a piano lesson to one of the kids from the neighborhood. My friend explained to me that the kid’s parents couldn’t afford piano lessons, so his sister was teaching the kid for free.
Then he offered to teach me how to play the piano for free as well. Because I was not interested in playing a musical instrument and classical music bored me, I turned down his offer. Which I have long since come to regret. We began to drift apart in the last one or two years I lived in the neighborhood. My family moved over a mile away.
About 10 years after we moved away, I decided to go to the used bookstore that was in my old neighborhood to purchase myself some books. I walked all the way to the bookstore. Afterward, on my return home, I decided to cut through my old street to see the old neighborhood. My childhood home pretty much was the same, with only a few cosmetic changes.
I walked further up the block to the pianist’s house. To my surprise, the familiar sound of classical music being played on a piano was emanating from the house. He still lived there! I kind of toyed with the idea of knocking on the door just to say “Hi,” but too much time had passed. I was way too shy and introverted. So, I just stood there for a minute or so to listen to the music before moving on.
I haven’t been to the old neighborhood since. Today, he’s a piano teacher and performer. He has played in many countries. He has played for royalty, and at New York’s Carnegie Hall. About a decade ago I learned his fee for teaching was 150 bucks an hour. So, it must be more by now. One of his students has gone on to international fame herself.
He doesn’t keep up an internet social media presence. No Facebook account, no Instagram, no Twitter, no YouTube channel, etc. He does have his own website, but it’s only a few pages and very bare bones. Not too long ago I learned his father died. Soon afterward, his mother died. After which he put up his old childhood home up for sale.
I saw the listing on a real estate website. I was looking up the houses on my old street for nostalgia’s sake. There were photos of the inside. It pretty much looked familiar except the wall to wall carpeting in the living room was removed and it was just the hardwood floor. Plus, the Baldwin piano was replaced with a Steinway grand piano—they cost more than most cars.
I do not know where he lives now. I do not know if he’s married or has any children. I have found no evidence yet of either. But I do know he’s a success today doing what he loves and does best.
The Kid Who Ended up Dropping Dudes
He was my best friend and we competed on every front. He loved Roman mythology and I loved Greek. We had this reading system called AR points. I beat our school’s record by like 500…he beat mine by 900. He packed an Exodia limb card, all I ever had was my Blue Eyes. We challenged each other and worked together to be the two smartest kids our town had ever seen. Come high school, I picked up cross country and hockey.
I got tired of competing on a front where I never won anything. I broke school running records and he broke school academic records so at least we were still tearing stuff up. After high school, I wanted to get out of our town so I joined the military and he went to college. After some Indian kid showed him up, he took up wrestling and got big…not buff, just big. He dropped all the smart boy classes and took up dropping dudes instead.
36. The Kid Who Was Super Social
This one guy was scary smart, was fully ambidextrous, could memorize scripts like no one’s business, and could get competent at pretty much anything he chose within a few days. He eventually started somewhat ignoring his schoolwork to focus on his social life, but if he cared, he likely could’ve swept the highest grades for every subject without a problem.
He was kind of arrogant, but overall a decent dude. He opted out of the advanced courses in high school and focused on Drama and the Language Arts, then went to university for theater, but dropped out once he made the social connections he wanted. Nowadays he makes a lot of money bartending at some swanky hipster joint, like with celebrities in the VIP lounge and stuff, while acting in stage plays and writing in his spare time.
He seems to be having a great time and I’m happy for him.
37. The Kids Who Went to the Same School
He’s going through a full scholarship at Princeton University studying Physics, I think. It seems to be a family thing, because his older brother is studying medicine at Stanford. We had two school geniuses coming from the same house and that is insane. Also, at the school I went to, on the IB exams one year, we got the best score in the country and a quintuple tie in the second-highest score in the country, so it’s not that going to school with geniuses was uncommon.
Me, well, I was a moron amongst geniuses, then I go and start university and realized I’m smarter than I thought—not a genius at all though. Just that when your point of reference is actual geniuses, your self-esteem goes down a bit. I’m just pretty lazy, which sucks.
38. The Kid Who Was Chill and then Disappeared
He was an unassuming genius, really chill guy that just happened to always get the highest marks. He never boasted or bragged about it, and helped most of us out on our Physics and Math exams. We were all set to attend the same university together—we’re Canadian by the way—but he got a call for some “interview” with the US military that summer and they flew him in for it.
And all he could tell us was that it was with the defense department, and we literally never saw or heard from him again. It was all very strange to be honest, but I hope he’s doing okay. Nice guy.
39. The Kid Who Married Another Genius
I was friends with two guys from the “gifted” program. To this day, they are still the smartest people I’ve met. One of them was the model student and received a full ride to college. He now has a PhD in Physics and is married to a nice girl that has a PhD in Neuroscience. The other, well, he had issues with people in authority. He sucked as a student, refused to do any homework and slept through every class.
He still aced every test though. He went to college for a year, but dropped out and is now an elevator mechanic. My normal friend group did fairly well, there were six of us. One is a doctor, one is a lawyer, three of us are engineers, and one is an MBA.
40. The Kid Who Was Smart but…
The genius from my high school got a five out of five in calculus 2 AP when he was just a junior. He was a cocky guy, but no one could ever deny the fact that the kid was a genius. He loved learning and loved being smart. He had completed most AP classes by the time his senior year had started. He then got accepted to MIT for physics.
But then it all went horribly wrong. He got drunk one night during graduate school scaled a building on campus with his friends and fell off, killing himself in Darwinian fashion. It’s truly one of the most ironic things I’ve ever seen: the smartest person I’ve ever met died in the dumbest way I had ever seen.
41. The Kid Who No One Believed
This guy at my high school claimed he developed technology and sold it to the military, always telling us about his new million-dollar contract for body armor or a new type of weapon modification. None of us ever believed him. Then, at graduation our senior year, we got a shocking surprise. He was presented a prestigious award by members of the Army and Air Force, we were all just dumbfounded.
He was telling the absolute truth and now runs his own arms company.
42. The Kid Who Ended up Selling Vacuums
I was friends with one of the smartest guys in the entire district—he had perfect SATs, was a gifted student, the whole nine yards. He got a free ride to Kent State. Stayed for one semester and immediately dropped out to live at home. I can only imagine he couldn’t handle it and ran as far away from a secondary education as he could.
I ran into him at Walmart a couple of years ago, and was stunned by his transformation. He was a pack a day smoker—he always detested smoking when I knew him—and he asked me to come to my house and demo a vacuum cleaner. I politely declined.
43. Cinematic Brilliance
Yep. A medical resident. Reminded me of Good Will Hunting guy. His own history, as he’d tell it, was “I had three last names before I was 18. My dad was in prison for as long as I can remember and will be in prison forever. You can check my family tree as far back as you’d like: I’m the first one to ever attend college.”
Scary smart. He learned Hungarian in his spare time as a trick to play on his (Hungarian) wife. When I first met him as a student I understood he spoke a lot of languages, so I asked him if he could speak to a Greek patient—“I do not speak Greek.” That was Monday. On Wednesday he was asking the patient simple questions in full sentences and understanding the answer. I was annoyed and asked him “Hey, I thought you didn’t SPEAK Greek!?” Him: “I didn’t. On Monday.”
You could make an entire career of following him around with a notebook and writing down his many good ideas, big and small, about literally everything—which he seems to forget as soon as he comes up with them. I do OK. I am a professor of surgery. I don’t have any of this guy’s pure mental horsepower.
I still know him and he’s still white-hot bright. But very much an easygoing dude, and still sometimes a product of a rough and tumble early life. Years ago, I had to explain to him—back to Good Will Hunting guy idea—“you can’t beat anyone up in the hospital no matter how much they annoy you.” Him, incredulous: “Never? But what if they do X?”
“No. Never.” “But what if they do Y.” “No. No beating up, ever, in the hospital.” *doubtful look by him*