If you follow my instagram, you may have noticed a couple posts I made earlier this summer. Here’s one where I was dressed up as a pineapple. In the captions, I made a few vague references to a “nerd camp” “mom vacation“, “embracing the stigma“, and “finding my people“.
And then I didn’t mention the whole thing again. Why not?
Because there’s not really a way to talk about this without assumptions being made and judgement being passed. Most other “M” people keep these things quiet or speak of them only clandestinely. But I think there’s enough value to others for me to put my experience out there into the world, so here goes. I give you permission to pass judgement on me however you now wish. (though if you’ve read some of my deep thinking posts you might not be totally surprised by my weirdness lol)
I am a member of American Mensa.
I have not always been an active, dues-paying, member. I have not always felt the need to be involved. It was just a random thing I took a test for 15 years ago and was seriously shocked to find out I passed. I have gone back and forth over the years mentally figuring out what to do about this strange test result and membership eligibility.
But ultimately – whatever. It is what it is.
And it’s not what it’s not.
I’m going to be brave, step up, embrace all the stigmas, and tell you more about joining Mensa.
There’s three parts to this post:
1) What it’s really like joining Mensa & what it’s not like.
2) Why moms specifically should consider joining Mensa.
3) How you can test (or submit prior evidence) for FREE through Dec. 31, 2019.
What It’s Really Like Joining Mensa & What It’s Not Like
It IS: an organization for anyone who tests in the top 2% on an accepted IQ test.
It’s NOT: as exclusive as you might think.
Here’s the thing – while the ‘allure’ of Mensa is its exclusivity to the “top 2%”, this is a bit of a misnomer. Mensa accepts over 200 tests on which you need to have scored in the top 2%…at any point…in your entire life. Were you in a gifted program as a kid? There’s a good chance your test scores from back then will qualify you. Depending on when you took the ACT or SAT, your scores from back then may even qualify you. Maybe you had one good day and tested really well on an Otis-Lennon School Achievement test (given annually or bi-annually in some schools) at the 98th percentile once. Congrats. You can qualify for Mensa.
So the whole “top 2%” thing? It’s realistically probably more like top 5-10%. If you managed to graduate college with a good GPA without much effort, there’s a decent chance that you might be able to qualify too. (though tbh, there’s also a fair share of Mensans who are college/high school drop outs; academic degree doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it)
Didn’t pass the regular Mensa test? Take the Culture Fair test option. Still didn’t pass but think you belong? Take another professionally administered IQ test. Really – while membership is “exclusive”, it’s not quite as exclusive as you might think. There are many ways you can join.
It IS: an extremely diverse mix of personalities, opinions, and beliefs.
It’s NOT: all arrogant people acting like they are better than everyone else.
Ok, look, I’ll be honest. Are there some people in Mensa who hold themselves in some preconceived notion of greatness and lord their membership over others they deem “lesser”? Unfortunately, yes, but those people are thankfully far and few between.
The vast majority of us are just normal people whose brains happen to process information in slightly different ways than the average person. Our jokes might have extra layers of depth. We might overthink situations. We might be socially awkward or we might be masters of socialization. We’re often creative and/or analytical.
We truly come from ALL walks of life. All different religions. Or no religion. Republicans and Democrats. Gay and straight. Poor and rich. Nuclear physicists and stay-at-home-home-moms (represent! 🙂 ). It’s a place for all and it’s incredibly diverse.
It IS: what you make it.
It’s NOT: necessarily made up of people that’d you’d think of as traditionally “smart”.
There’s a term I’ve recently learned: NEURODIVERSITY. The idea that all of our minds function just a little bit differently – and that this is ok. That we all have gifts and benefits that we can bring to the world in spite of the ways our minds operate differently.
Most people think that “high IQ” correlates to the traditional idea of “smart”, but that’s not quite how it works. “IQ” is a funny thing. Higher levels bring different challenges. Within Mensa, you’ll encounter all types of people, including those with learning difficulties such as high-functioning autism, dyslexia, ADHD, etc. who don’t necessarily fit traditional images of “smart”.
The only two things you can expect of Mensans is that we are diverse and that we often think differently. We sometimes piece together information in seemingly strange ways. Often, our brains create shortcuts to connect information together faster than other people – but other times our brains scramble too much information together at once and we get stuck on a thought and come across as dumb, or emotionally immature, or some other decidedly “non-Mensan” trait.
It IS: Mostly geared toward socialization.
It’s NOT: A bunch of astrophysicists sitting around a table debating who should’ve won the most recent Nobel prize.
Though you certainly might find astrophysicists in the group and there are in fact some events centered around debates – most Mensan events are social in nature. Pub crawls, game nights, escape rooms, concerts, trying new restaurants, etc. Though some Mensans are perfectly extroverted and shine in all social situations – many feel a bit socially awkward and appreciate the opportunity to socialize in an environment where overthinking and unique mannerisms are normal.
I realize that makes us sound like the biggest nerds! But that’s kind of the point. We might not all look “smart”/nerdy/geeky/whatever, but it’s nice to occasionally be in a group of people where we can feel accepted, weirdness and all. 🙂
Why Moms (especially SAHMs) Should Consider Joining Mensa
Mensa is for LOTS of different kinds of people. If you stumbled on this post and you’re not a mom, Mensa is still for you and you should consider joining. But I’m gonna take a moment here to specifically encourage the moms – and even more especially the stay-at-home-moms – to consider joining.
Two main reasons:
FIRST: Motherhood is awesome. But, let’s face it, it can also be a bit mind numbing. The daily ins and outs of life with little ones can be mentally exhausting and unfulfilling. While there’s many wonderful opportunities out there for social interactions (MOMS Clubs, MOPS, playgroups, etc) – most of these understandably center around kids activities and conversations about our kids. There’s not a whole lot out there to foster mental stimulation for moms. Admittedly, not every mom even craves this kind of thing, but if you do – there’s a dearth of accessible resources for us to keep our minds sharp.
It’s NOT as simple as – oh, “go sit in a class at your local community college“. Because kids. Or “go read a few books on topics you’re interested in“, becausekids. Or even “take up a hobby that keeps your mind occupied” #becausekids. Kids take up our whole lives!! If something isn’t kid-friendly, we cant do it! If something requires an attention span longer than 5-10 min at a time before our kids needs us for something, we can’t do it!
Granted I’m not saying that Mensa has an amazing program for #Mmomlife – they don’t – but they should. (fun fact – people in Mensa don’t like to use the word “mensa”, we usually refer to ourselves as just “M”.) One thing that’s great in “M” is that you can be as involved as you want to be, and start whatever Special Interest Groups (called SIGs) that you want. Do you know how cool it would be if there were local Stay-At-Home-MomM meetup groups? Where we had playdates where instead of talking about nap schedules and afterschool classes we talked about, oh, idk, math and puns and existential quandaries? It would be the awesomest thing ever!
SECOND: As much as we’ve advanced as a society, let’s face it – stay-at-home-mom life is still kind of regarded as a lower tier. Anyone can do it, right? No degree required. Keep the kids alive, make them food, try to enforce guidelines/discipline, manage their needs, take them places, maybe pick up after them here and there, get them to fall asleep at night. It’s EXTREMELY busy and filled with a million tiny and inconsequential details and is a ton of physical and emotional work — but it’s not exactly fostering high level thinking concepts either.
So what do you do as an overthinking mom caught up in the world of inane small details while raising young children?? You go crazy. Lol. Well…I mean, you might actually go legitimately crazy unless you can find ways to keep your mind stimulated.
I’m going to write another entry more about my personal experience with M and especially my wonderful time at their Annual Gathering this past summer, but until then – if you think you might be like me, a SAHM trying to stave off an overactive mind before you go legitimately crazy, maybe you should consider joining Mensa too.
How To Take the Mensa Test (or Submit Prior Evidence) For Free Right Now
If you’ve ever thought about joining Mensa – now’s the time. Not just trying to be hyperbolic here either. From now until Dec. 31, 2019 Mensa is doing a special promotion where you can test (or submit prior evidence) for FREE.
If you’re curious about Mensa, you might as well take advantage of this.
To Submit Prior Evidence:
Check out this list. If you have a previous test score from a test on this list, follow the directions on how to submit. At some point (I didn’t go this route so I’m not sure of the specifics, but if you’re really M-caliber you can figure it out. 😉) you’ll be given a chance to enter a code and waive the submission fee.
Here’s the code: ShowBiz19
To Take the Mensa Test:
Go here. Search for test sessions in your area. Purchase a pre-paid testing voucher and use the code. (Again, I didn’t test out each step of this process for you, and I’m trusting your capacity to figure out.)
Here’s the code: ShowBiz19
Thanks for letting me share about this and I hope you consider joining Mensa if you feel like you might belong!
If you’d like to learn more about American Mensa, check out their website or facebook page (see if you can find me and my silver hair in the group header picture 🙂 )