In class, there are usually several other people who are much faster doing the problems. If the instructor poses a question, they will pop out the answer almost immediately while I’m still plodding away at it.
Doing homework, I likewise take a long time to get it done. I slug through the material at a snail’s pace, moving back and forth between the text and the exercises as I reassure myself that yes, I’m doing it the way the book says it should be done.
When it’s test time, I still have this perception that I am one of the slower students in the class. As soon as the test is handed out to the class, I develop a hyper-focussed concentration on the thing. I grind single-mindedly through it without pause, because I’m convinced that I will run out of time before I’m finished. After all, I’m one of the slow ones.
Somehow I maintain this perception even though I’m usually one of the first ones done with the test. Sometimes I am the first one done, and then I go back through and carefully check all my answers, because I must have done something wrong if I’ve finished before anyone else.
My husband tells me I have this problem because I tend to hang out with very smart people (he modestly didn’t mention that he was included in this group, although he is one of the smartest people I know). All of the people I consider to be close friends are, coincidentally, also in the super-smart category. The classmates I like to sit with at lunch are the bright overachievers. As a result, I consider myself to be average. Perhaps even a little below average. I wind up feeling like the fabled tortoise, doing my best to keep up while everyone sprints ahead.
Spousal Unit once jokingly said I should start hanging out with stupid people so I’d finally feel like the smart one. But I’ve worked in retail, and stupid people make my blood pressure go up. I guess I must not be that slow if all my smart friends can stand to have me around.