Book Nerd, Street Geek Essay

1404 words - 6 pages

We’ve all heard it time and time again, college is the way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, but is that necessarily true? Well it depends on the person you ask. Someone in college would tell you book smart’s is the way to go. On the other hand, asking a teenager who lives in an area with high gang and criminal activity more than likely will tell you that street smarts are what keep him “above water” every day. Individuals that have book smarts may have a world full of information but without any real life-experience how can that information be applied, because we all know that after college comes the “real world”. What good is knowledge if it’s not applied? Individuals with street smarts are the students of life, which gives the exam first then, the lesson. People with street smarts have the ability react naturally to a situation in society, adapt to different environments and they have a keen sense of situational awareness. Common sense would seem to dictate that having a combination of book and street smarts leads to a successful life, which is why I agree with Gerald Graff, the Author of They Say I Say and his article “Hidden Intellectualism” when he states that incorporating street smarts and book smarts will have a favorable outcome.
First off, let’s define book smarts and street smarts. Being book smart in my own definition means having the ability to regurgitate information that has been continuously drilled into one’s mind, having a certain set of understanding in certain subject matters relating to academics. Street smarts on the other hand, are the ability to adapt to a certain environment or situation in your daily life relating to society and less academically. It’s the ability to have an independent state of mind and always being aware of what lies ahead. University of Illinois English professor Gerald Graff argues many different points about book and street smarts in his article. Opening the article he states that “everyone knows some young person who is impressively “street smart” but does poorly in school. What a waste, we think that one who is so intelligent about so many things in life seems unable to apply that intelligence to academic work”(198). He goes on to say that schools might actually be at fault for this by not giving the student with street smarts the opportunity to channel his intelligence into academics. Graff argues that the major reason schools don’t implement street smarts in their curriculum because they associate street smarts with anti-intellectual concerns. Furthermore, he uses his own childhood experience as backing to his argument. For example, Graff mentions that he grew up a block away from the “hood”, and his willingness to be accepted by the people who lived there as he refers to them as the “hoods”, “I was desperate for the approval of the hood, which I encountered daily on the playing field and in the neighborhood, and for this purpose it was not at all good to be book smart”(200)...

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