The Price of Perfection: Exploring The Gifted Kid Burnout Phenomenon
This study is a critical examination of gifted kid burnout and the effects of the gifted label on students in early adulthood as depicted in online communities and through interviews with those identifying with the gifted label. The data collected includes gifted-coded social media posts and the semi-structured interviews of four current college students and two high school seniors, all of whom have some degree of experience in U.S. gifted education programs. This research is not meant to represent all gifted experiences or explore how gifted labels are used within current U.S. or Texas educational programs; rather, my study centers on inquiry into specific discourses that occur regarding the experiences of gifted-identifying individuals, specifically the experience of 'gifted kid burnout,' a term used by online communities to describe the lack of motivation and subsequent negative behaviors and emotions experienced by formerly gifted-labeled students. The research questions this study seeks to answer are: (1) How is giftedness defined by gifted-identifying individuals? (2) What discourses occur regarding gifted kid burnout? and (3) How do these definitions and discourses reflect and reinforce wider educational structures?