A Question of Intelligence: Street Smart or Book Smart

Even though being book smart is great, it is more beneficial to be street smart.

Emmy Walker, Columnist

With the way the world is today, it is much more important to be street smart than book smart. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines book smart as “having a lot of academic knowledge learned from books and studying, but not necessarily knowing much about people and living in the real world.” Street smart is referred to as “the experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties or dangers of life.”

The lessons that desperately need to be learned cannot be taught by books. Now, I’m not saying that being book smart isn’t important. In school, we are being taught by books, so we can go to college and ultimately get a great career. It would be incredibly difficult to get a well-paying job if you weren’t book smart.

However, if you were book smart and not street smart, life would be much more difficult. Let’s say you got an amazing job because of your hard work and dedication in school. You may do well at work, but what about outside of the workplace? Those who are street smart have the ability to understand the people around them as well as their surroundings. This helps them interact with others and also keeps them safe. Street smart people will be aware if they are in danger and will react accordingly.

Being street smart can even help you inside the workplace. According to Quintessential Careers (quintcareers.com), two of the top values that employers look for in job seekers are communication skills and teamwork. While books can prepare you for many things, they can’t teach you these values. You can only learn these things by being around people and developing your social skills. When the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) came to speak at Photography,Yearbook, and Digital Design classes at our school, they explained that creativity is what makes you stand out to employers. As hard as you may try, you can’t learn how to be creative through books. It is only by going out and learning new things that you will be able to develop your creativity.

Those who are street smart also have common sense, which is helpful in many areas of their lives. They know when to speak and when to refrain from talking. This common sense is what keeps them from making too many bad decisions, because they have understand that actions have consequences. People who are book smart can definitely have common sense, but it is something that must be learned by experience.

Being street smart may not come naturally to all people. It is something that must be worked for and developed over time. By gaining knowledge through new experiences, you will be street smart in no time.