It’s a very common thing among high schools in the United States nowadays. There are those students who are popular. They get along with practically everyone, they have a memorable personality, and practically everyone knows their name and/or face.
I know that because I was a “popular girl” in high school.
All four years of high school, I got along with people in literally every grade. My last year of high school, I was commemorated for my sense of humor—I was the school comedian. I had a slew of jokes to tell my friends, classmates, and acquaintances. I would always want to check in with my friends and see how their days were going.
The popularity went all the way back to middle school, actually. In the seventh grade, I was the girl who everyone wanted to get to know. I started telling jokes to my classmates on a daily basis. In addition, I told jokes to the whole school in a talent show. This bubbly personality carried over to eighth grade.
My take on the whole popularity thing? It’s nice, but not necessary.
Yes, I enjoyed being able to get along with students at school. Yes, I enjoyed being the funny girl in school. Yes, I enjoyed meeting new people and clicking with them.
Even in college, I loved getting to know my neighbors and classmates and being able to get along well with them. However, I couldn’t care less about being a popular girl. I cared more about being the best person I could be.
I feel like popularity is now a huge popularity contest in schools. It seems to me that everyone wants to be popular, and people get judged or shunned based on their popularity. Apparently, you are either popular or a “punch line” in school. You either are admired by the entire student body or you are the joke of your grade. I think the biggest stereotype is that popular kids are mean, snooty bullies.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a popular person in school, I was kind and funny. One of my closest friends, who was also a popular person, was popular for being fun to be around and lighting the day up. I’m sure there are a number of examples of popular people who have wonderful, loving personalities rather than less pleasant ones.
You don’t have to be popular in school to be happy. If you love to play Green Day songs on the piano in your spare time, play Green Day songs on the piano in your spare time. Are the students you get along the best with part of the school speech and debate team? That’s okay. Do you mostly click with the members of the school history club? That’s perfectly alright.
However, what if the popular students are into playing soccer and horror films when you aren’t? You don’t have to pretend to like these interests to become popular. If you want to learn to play soccer to learn about yourself, that’s okay. If you want to watch a horror film to expand your film tastes, that’s okay.
If you show no interest in soccer or horror films, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to like those just to fit in with the most popular students in your grade. If you prefer painting and learning to speak Spanish instead, it’s absolutely alright if you pursue those hobbies.
During your time in school, you don’t have to put your worth into how many friends you have, how many people from you school follow you on Twitter, or how many people view your Instagram story. You shouldn’t be required to base your self-esteem on how many people sit with you at lunchtime, how many comments you get on your Facebook profile picture, or how many people make small talk with you in the hallway.
Being yourself, loving yourself, and accepting yourself is the best way to flourish in school. Put your heart and soul into interests that appeal to you. Do random acts of kindness for all walks of life on school grounds. Discover hobbies you never knew you loved. Dive deep into subjects you love, be it social studies, language arts, or science.
It’s okay if you are popular in school. It’s okay if you are not popular in school. High school is only four years of your life. It won’t last forever. As long as you do things you enjoy and are kind to yourself, thing will work out.
Be yourself. Participate in activities that allow you to be yourself. Being popular is not mandatory in high school. Enjoy hobbies and interests that help you change and grow. A saying I came up with in middle school is one of my biggest pieces of life advice: do the things you love to do and love the things you do.