For most of my primary and secondary schooling, I existed in academically competitive spaces. What I mean is, us students were totally bought into the culture. We actively competed for the highest or higher grades. Grades, at least from my experience, determined to some degree social status. When I got to high school, this culture was limited to certain circles but those who weren't overachievers were lowbrow plebeians in my book. Nice, fun people but unworthy nonetheless. "Comp kids", referring to their classes being considered comprehensive versus TAG, AP, or honors.
My parents would brag to friends and coworkers about my academic achievement. Subtle moments manufactured for me to show off my brilliance. So being smart and smarter than most became a huge component of my identity. Unfortunately, being smart to me specifically meant getting good grades in school. Sometimes it meant being able to spout out information but that skill would soon dwindle.