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.