This sort of affirmative-action-related meltdown happens far more often at the better schools than anyone would credit:
Throughout elementary, middle and high school, Kidd’s talent for science showed. She was accepted into the highly competitive Thacher School, a private boarding high school in California where she promptly earned the nickname “The Science Girl.”
The teachers loved her and lavished her with praise, Kidd wrote, using her homework as an example for other students. When she was a sophomore, her chemistry teachers announced before 240 classmates that Kidd had garnered the highest score in a national chemistry competition.
These accolades only fueled Kidd’s drive to succeed, and it culminated in her acceptance to an Ivy League university.
“The ultimate climax was when I got into Columbia,” Kidd wrote. “Because it’s such a prestigious school, it made me feel like I had proven to myself, and everyone around me, that I made it.”
When she got on campus, she decided, naturally, that she would study science. But things didn’t go smoothly.
The day she moved in was her birthday. “I felt really alienated and alone and didn’t find the Columbia students very welcoming,” Kidd wrote. “During my freshman year, I quickly went from star student to slacker.”
In contrast to the tight-knit community at Thacher, Kidd said, “at Columbia I was lucky if a teacher talked to me.” The lack of close connections with her teachers discouraged her from engaging with her schoolwork.
“Even though I was wired to be a good student,” Kidd said, “I didn’t feel inspired. I got through the year, getting B’s and C’s, but I didn’t care. I was just happy the summer arrived.”
Upon her return to classes in September, Kidd signed up for computer-science classes and “hated every minute of it.”
One morning in April, she woke up and realized she needed to make a change and “started plotting [her] escape.”
She probably would have been a star at a second-tier school. But it’s not only unreasonable, it is cruel to be throwing kids like this into situations where mediocrity is the best possible outcome and failure is the most probable one.
Anyhow, she’s better off doing what she actually wants to do than what everyone else expects of her. It’s neither right nor fair to put the weight of a race on one young kid who happens to be an outlier.