Do you have a teen starting or continuing on in high school this year? Do you remember what it was like when you first started high school? Back when I was starting high school (21 years ago – yikes!), I had mixed feelings about making the transition. There was a lot of bullying at my elementary school and I knew that I didn’t want to follow that group to high school so I chose to go to a different school than everyone else. It was a school closer to my parents’ house and I only knew one other person that would be starting grade 9 with me. It was a little scary but honestly I was glad to be leaving elementary school behind. I wish I knew then that high school popularity really doesn’t matter.
High school was much better for me than elementary school. I stuck to a small group of friends, I was shy and I didn’t go to parties but the biggest thing for me was that I wasn’t bullied. Do you remember how kids seem to be categorized in school by their peers? There is the popular group, the sporty group, the smart kids, the kids that just seemed to not fit in and then everyone else. I suppose I was in the “everyone else” group in high school. At times I wished that I was more outgoing and more popular and I wished that I was invited to parties. At the time, I would have been proud to be classified as popular.
Perhaps I was a little invisible in school but that was fine by me. It was better than the bullying I had to go through in elementary school. In fact, my grade 12 yearbook has my name listed in the “Not Pictured” section although my picture is in the yearbook. I was embarrassed at the time but it’s something I laugh about now.
Why High School Popularity Doesn’t Matter:
What I didn’t realize at the time is that after high school, no one cares about what group you were in. High school popularity doesn’t mean you’ll get a better job or marry an amazing partner. It doesn’t mean you’ll have better opportunities in life than those that weren’t as popular. Once I started working, I realized that I wasn’t so shy after all. I started making friends at work, I started to be invited to fun events and I started speaking up for myself when I knew I deserved better. I’ve excelled in my career, I’ve taken opportunities that I never would have dreamed of trying, I’ve created my own business, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve married a wonderful man who loves me and we’ve started a family. And guess what…I did all of this even though I wasn’t popular in high school.
So for the teens just entering high school or going back for another year, please remember that silly classifications in school don’t mean anything. Go ahead and be yourself. You’ll meet people who appreciate you for who you are. I know school can be tough and kids can be mean, but I promise you that the label you’re slapped with in high school isn’t one that you’ll carry throughout your life.
How was high school for you? What do you know now that you wished you knew back then? Let me know in the comments below.
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6 thoughts on “Why High School Popularity Doesn’t Matter”
Ahh… if only you could actually convince a teen of this. What you are saying is absolutely true – and years after high school, it’s interesting to meet people from all of the different ‘popularity levels’ and realize that now – we’re all the same. But the amount of suicides that happen in high school is testament to the fact that for so many teens – it IS a big deal, because they really can’t see that far into the future. I think some kids are exceptions to this, but I’ve read that brain development in the teen years makes it impossible for teenagers to truly understand long term effects – which explains why kids can be so mean to others just to fit in, and why it hurts so much to be bullied. I wish I could go back to my 14 year old self and show that self the big picture – so I could maybe choose some things differently – but I know it wouldn’t work that way. Sigh.
Yes, when you are in the situation in high school, it really seems like nothing else matters and that your life is dependent on your status in school. I sure wish I could go back and chat to my 14 year old self as well!
Something I tell my nieces/nephews as they reach middle and high school ages is that the saying that high school is “the best yeasr of your life” is NOT necessarily true. In middle school, my friends were mostly focused on clothing brands and appearances and they’d often say mean things to me about my hair or clothes, etc. So in high school i started hanging out with some kids i knew from middle school but had only been casual “we partner up on history project sometimes” type friends and they were always nic to me and really supportive but I started having severe depression and whenever adults would tell me how awesome HS was for them and how much they miss it or how its the best years of your life, it was such a scary thing to me to think that my life was as good as it would ever get. TOTALLY not true for me personally – I’m 10x happier now. Such a silly thing to say when obviously the best part of any persons life could be at age 8 or age 80 it can vary soooo much. but honestly i think being a teen is VERY rarely the “best years” so i’m not sure why people even say that, haha.
I never cared much about popularity. I had my circle of friends… and they spanned across different social groups. I homeschool my children, but crazy enough, they still have to deal with this type of stuff. I remind them often that none of the high school drama is worth it in the end.
It amazes me how much drama is involved in high school these days. I went to a private all girl school and, even with all the girls, I don’t remember all the drama. Uniforms helped with keeping everyone on equal footing. No way to flaunt labels or complain about what you’re wearing. I wouldn’t want to be a kid these days.
Wonderful message!!! I had my small bout in the “popular” world (was on drill team half a year and quit)… personally NOT being popular was much better. They can be so back stabbing and spiteful! My oldest didn’t go to high school because of these “mean girls”. If only kids would realize how hurtful they are being and stop being so mean!!!