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Popularity Comes with a Price

Bailey Rock, Junior Staff Writer

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Movies and society portray being popular in high school as the pinnacle of teen life, the best thing any teen can achieve. Yes, many believe it would be very exciting to live life as a popular kid, getting invited to every party, knowing that everyone wants to be your friend, and never having difficulty finding a date or fitting in. However, much of the hype around teen popularity is just that–hype. With popularity comes many downfalls and unwanted burdens, and high school definitely offers much more than a platform for someone’s social status.

One of the biggest disadvantages to being well-liked in high school is the dilemma that a popular teen really has no idea who his or her true friends are. Many peers of the popular student will try and to be friends in order to boost their own social status. This “false friendship” can sometimes lead to betrayals and rejection, which can hurt one’s self-worth.  So there are obvious risks and effects for the well-liked teen that can continue into adulthood.  According to one online source: “…being nominated as one of the peers that the other students would like to spend time with — so being more popular — at age 15 was found to be a significant predictor of having higher rates of social anxiety at age 25 than the students who were less preferred as someone to spend time with” (Howard).   So as the quantity of friends increases for the popular teen, often the quality of the friendships decrease because of disguised intentions.

HHS Junior Mikayla Smith responded when asked what are some of the disadvantages of being popular by stating: “I think that because I try to look pretty everyday, some people label me as shallow, and they think that all I care about is how I look. It makes me feels like I have to prove myself to them. For instance, in my Honors classes freshman and sophomore year, before I knew anyone, I think people assumed I would be dumb because I put effort into my appearance.” So Mikayla sees popularity imposing the stress of always having to look nice in school, which can lead to another downfall of popularity: Teens will label particular popular students and impose their ideas on that person, whether they are realistic or not.   Just because someone likes to have good hygiene and dress nicely everyday does not mean that he or she values appearance over intellect. Everyone has more qualities than what appears on the surface. Mikayla was not the only student, however, who believed that “being popular” imposed higher standards for particular teens. Another student at HHS, Junior Mikey Vansuch, states, “Popularity makes you like a role model and a leader of the school, and there is so much pressure to make the right decisions and set a good example. You do not really have any room to make mistakes.”

Another downfall to holding the popularity title in high school is that the well-liked student never has real privacy since he or she is rarely alone, and everyone wants to know everything about him or her. Juniors Davion Daniels and Lilly Kish believe that this is true. Lilly remarks:  “Everyone just likes to be in your business at all times. They want to know these things just so they can go tell others, when in reality, your life has nothing to do with them.” Davion followed up with saying, “People are always in your business no matter what and sometimes I just want to be left alone; it makes me uncomfortable when people are nosy.”

Therefore, it appears that being popular is not always the best thing possible. It focuses a lot of unnecessary or unwanted attention on the popular teen, and constant attention is stressful and not always the best thing.  Additionally, popularity can distract a student from what he or she is actually there for, a higher education. So if you are envious of that popular student who sits next to you in Chemistry or Honors English, rethink that envy and be thankful instead for the comfort and support of a few true good friends.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/12/health/high-school-friends-health-study/index.html

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Popularity Comes with a Price