It's been a crazy couple of weeks. First off, I spent a week traveling around England with two of my housemates, Julia and Emily (you can meet them in a YouTube video here). This week was nought week (basically, orientation/scavenger hunt to find all your tutors/library cards/meetings/books). It's been quite the past few weeks.
The previous paragraph was not only my subtle apology for missing last week's post (sorry, fam) but also a loose transition into talking about intelligence. I believe everyone has some kind of intelligence and brilliance. I am clever at books. I don't make egregious spelling errors very often. I also put my foot in my mouth on the reg, and this morning I spilled tea all over the kitchen table (update: I dropped my pen just now; Brooke and Julia were not phased).
Oxford is an environment where intelligence is not only valued, but demanded. People, especially OPUS students, come here with the expectation that there will be a ton of work. We arrive expecting to use our minds and strengths to their limits. Over dinner, we discuss fashion, art history, politics and political theory, social norms, and the leaking shower. Intelligence is integrated with normalcy. That means that people have the opportunity to show their best intelligence, which means people have an opportunity to show their brilliance. That's not something you see very often in the States, and I'm developing a theory as to why.
Intelligence comes in a dozen forms, and I think that the expectation that all of your intelligences will be called to the floor provides an environment for brilliance. It's not that there is such a higher concentration of intelligence (although I am blown away by the conversations around the table), but rather that the table and the city as a safe place to be intelligent, and thus a safe place to shine.