Popular or successful?
I have been doing some PR work for one of my good high school friends who now lives in Arkansas. In high school she was "a smart kid," but also quite "popular." In fact, she was in homecoming every year she was in high school, and was even Homecoming Queen our senior year (oooooo, ahhhhh).
Popularity is a weird thing when you are growing up. Once I hit college, I rarely thought of it again.
Gallup recently did some polling around popularity. The results were interesting:
More respondents said they were popular (74%) than said they were not popular (25%), but only 14% said they were "very popular." Most (60%) described themselves as having been "somewhat popular."
I am not sure how I would answer. I was voted "most school spirit" (I have no idea why) in my senior class superlatives (I think that actually counts against my popular points). I also really liked being friends with the Speech Freaks of which I considered myself one as well.
Gallup explains that Ralph Keyes' 1977 book, "Is There Life After High School?" offers that popular kids who are at the top of their games in high school have nothing to aspire to after graduation. It is the dorks of the world that are motivated to make something of themselves.
Another Gallup poll asked respondents whether they think the popular kids in high school end up being more successful or less so than unpopular kids.
A plurality agree with Keyes' theory, as 37% of respondents said that popular kids are probably less successful later in life than are unpopular kids. A quarter (25%) said popular kids are more successful in their post-high school lives than are unpopular kids. Twenty-four percent volunteered that both groups are probably equally successful.
Sure, this is a pretty unscientific poll or even way to look at popularity, but it's interesting. To bring it home, I think Washington, D.C. in particular is a great place for people who maybe weren't as cool in high school or even college, but have come into their own in this vast land of dorkdom.