This scintillating post started out as an email to the Lass.
Just to clarify about N, and her refusal, or really inability, to worry too much about grades:
I think a lot of people are like her, in that they don’t do things for grades. Maybe education has changed. But I really think with her it’s not just a desire to do things for higher reasons than grades. She knows she’s smart, and she is smart, but it is really not easy for her to get good grades, even in classes that she likes. It takes an organizational skill that she just doesn’t have. For her, the learning is one thing, and she can do that, but the doing all the homework and remembering to turn it in, and remembering to study for tests, and all that other administrative stuff — all that stuff is actually really hard for her, and separate from the actual learning.
And I really do think there’s a kind of a loop — 1. it’s hard for you to get good grades, even though you’re smart. 2. Therefore it’s in your best interest to think that grades do not reflect intelligence. Which 3, leads you to want to bother even less to get grades because 4 If you think they’re important 5 you’ll have to think there’s something wrong with you. Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with you, so you have to go back to 2, not caring too much, which leads you to the result of not getting good grades, which leads you back again to 2, which leads to further trouble with grades.
But, #5, there is something “wrong” with you, and as usual, if you were to actually look at it and accept it, you’d see that it’s not really “wrong” and it doesn’t mean you’re bad, and if you were to accept it as a fact, you could then think of ways to deal with it. But just getting to the looking part is scary and unpleasant.
But perhaps she will —
She probably will. She’s smart, and also generally fairly brave.
Meanwhile, I am holding my breath that she will keep her GPA up enough to actually go to college. Which I’m sure will present it’s own complications.
But also, there is evidence that as people get older, all this executive functioning stuff actually kicks in. Your brain matures, and it’s not so hard anymore.