Socrates’ aphorism “know thyself” was one motivation for Sheridan international student, Julien Arpin, to begin taking IQ tests. Self-monitoring his cognitive health was a more pressing factor. When he was 17, he woke up in the hospital having suffered a concussion from a car accident. Concerned about the long-term impact the incident might have on his cognitive wellbeing, he began what he describes as his “IQ campaign.” Four years later, not only does Arpin feel assured of his recovery, he’s been named Genius of the Year (GOTY) for America by The World Genius Directory.
With an IQ of 162, Arpin is considered to be amongst 0.002% of the population. The threshold of genius, he explains, is regarded in the high IQ community as approximately 145 or above. Having a high IQ contributed to his eligibility for the award, and his advocacy mandate seems to have resonated with his voting peers in The World Genius Directory. “I want to strengthen the symbiosis between the high IQ society and the world,” he says. “IQ can be very taboo but there are interesting perspectives and insights to share from people across the gifted spectrum.”
In Arpin’s experience, these valuable perspectives are sometimes not heard at all. “People with genius-level IQs can have a difficult time relating to others,” he says. “Feeling different may feed a desire to isolate oneself socially.” One element of Arpin’s plans to change this is to bring knowledge of IQ into the mainstream and get more people involved in IQ culture, like students at Sheridan where he’s found his academic calling in the Computer Systems Technology – Software Development and Network Engineering (Co-op) program.
Arpin sees a natural fit with the thinking required for IQ tests and that involved in his studies at Sheridan. He explains: “Both are founded on pure, abstract thought. You’re given some condition to meet and you have to think of all the ways to meet it and the one that is most effective. That’s the same goal as an IQ puzzle.” His capacity for working with this type of knowledge inspired him to create his own test: the Verbal Analysis Using Language Testing (VAULT) IQ test. It’s comprised of 30 verbal association problems and has been well received in the IQ community.
“To think outside the box and then back in with a more enlightened perspective you need more than logic, you need true creativity.” – Julien Arpin
In his spare time, Arpin, who calls himself a “chameleon” when it comes to his interests, writes rap lyrics and has won freestyle competitions in the United States. Creativity factors into many areas of his life and is a skill he finds valuable when taking an IQ test. “To think outside the box and then back in with a more enlightened perspective you need more than logic, you need true creativity,” he explains. “I live life trying to tap into these deeper insights and make sense of things.”
The other two GOTY winners for Europe and Asia include a Mental Coach from Cyprus and an Electrical Safety Manager from South Korea. He’s in good company as a 21-year old student in his penultimate year at Sheridan. As hefty as the title is, he’s humbled by it. “It’s an honour to be recognised on this scale,” he says. “I view it as a token of responsibility to promote the potential of the IQ community and encourage its growth.”
Pictured at top of page: Julien Arpin’s Genius of the Year Award plaque from The World Genius Directory
Written by: Keiko Kataoka, Digital Communications Officer at Sheridan