The notion of popularity lives on


Kathryn Stratz

Students walk to class after lunch. Most students walk in groups as to not look “uncool.”

Kathryn Stratz, Staff Writer

“To be regarded with favor, approval, or affection by people in general,” is the definition of popularity, according to

Approval in general is what most people are in search of, especially in the high school environment.

This approval, commonly associated with being cool and therefore popular, however, is superficial and unfulfilling for teenagers.

High school is tough, especially socially. Students tend to focus on who knows who and who does what, when, where, and why. This is all instead of making real connections and creating lasting memories with people who really matter.

Psychology Today reviewed a study that found that about 33 percent of high school students value social status over friendships. Case closed. 

Who are the popular people anyway? The richer, more athletic, and better-looking people, with closets full of Yeezys or Brandy Melville?

Gold star to them, but at the end of the day, this is the root cause of high schoolers feeling left out and unhappy—they’re looking for temporary joys through fancy clothes, followers, and friends.

Plus, what it takes to reach the “top” is not worth it. Sacrificing morals, time, self-esteem, and mornings-after when one could be instead surrounding themselves with true friends who actually care.

Some would argue that having “trendy” clothes, lots of friends, and thousands of social media followers doesn’t necessarily lead to desperation or unhappiness. But it’s not what the average high schooler does or wears, it’s what they’re searching for with those superficial things—popularity—that are problematic.

Focusing on making those real connections and creating lasting memories, albeit small, is more worthwhile in high school.  And the sooner one can figure this out, the better.

As stated by Psychology Today, “In general, we want to be a voice for authenticity, compassion, and genuine friendship, which are more enduring values than popularity.”

So, to all high schoolers:

There is no rule stating it’s lame to walk alone to class, it doesn’t matter who got invited to that party, nobody cares who that guy is dating, and wearing the same jeans two days in a row is not a straight path to becoming a bottom-feeder.

And don’t worry, because all one can do in this purgatory called high school is be a good person and surround oneself with the same.