About high school misfits

July 20, 2011 | By | Reply More

A couple of years ago, I raised the topic of high school misfits. As I recall more than a few authors of this site commented that they had been high school misfits, or “outsiders.”

The June 20, 2011 issue of Time Magazine includes an article titled “Life After High School,” that has some interesting things to say about high school misfits.

Before getting to the misfits, what do long term studies say about the kids who were popular in high school?

[R]ecent research suggests that popularity isn’t entirely positive. Belonging to the cool crowd is associated with higher rates of drinking, drug use, sexual activity and minor delinquency during adolescence.

What can you say about the kids who are academically successful in high school?

[P]revious analyses have overstated the role of intelligence in economic success. Hard work and the development of capacities like conscientiousness and cooperation also matter for success–not to mention personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Finally, what is the current thinking about high school “outsiders”?  Alexandra Robbins, author of the new book, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, argues that high school students

“will be well served in adult life by the same characteristics that made them unpopular in high school. She calls this premise “quirk theory” and describes it this way: “Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the identical traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect or find compelling about that person in adulthood and outside the school setting.”

There.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?  While your popular classmates were playing around, you were getting ready for the real world.   And further, as suggested by this same article, outsiders often avoided social activities (or they were excluded), leaving them more time for serious study.



Category: American Culture

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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