It’s difficult to describe what makes a Cool Kid in high school. I have vague memories of them being attractive and playing netball and listening to The Edge or ZM. Maybe the kids are into different things these days, with their Joseph Beibers and their youfacetube.
Disclaimer: I’m not actually a crotchety old person.
What I really want to talk about is how high school isn’t forever, and at some point you will stop being a teenager. Let me tell you my story.
I was born in 1992, but I’ve never really been a… 90s kid. A lot of my earliest memories are from growing up in Beirut, so I kind of missed a lot of Western things (The Spice Girls, S Club 7, Backstreet Boys), and then when I got back to New Zealand I didn’t really click back in with this culture. Having boy-short hair before it was cool (or even socially accepted, the early 2000s were a dark time), only listening to the radio for the period where My Chemical Romance and Greenday were big, didn’t have a cellphone until I was 15 – the first CD I purchased was a Jethro Tull CD, and I used my Walkman right into 2010 (it uh. Took tapes in it. Ask your parents).
I had a truly horrible time at high school. I didn’t look right, I didn’t feel right, there was one point where the girls in my class classified everyone and I was a Freak. I hated netball so wasn’t going to be cool that way, and the year that I went to maths camp I accepted I was probably doomed to never, ever be a Cool Kid.
When I ask a lot of the people I am friends with now about high school, a lot of similar stories come out. Being awkward and unhappy isn’t uncommon, and wishing to be even slightly further up the social hierarchy is something you share with pretty much everyone else your age.
The people I value the most now, the most interesting, charming, kind and intelligent people I know now, without exception had a terrible time at high school. They were never Cool Kids and they never had a chance at being Cool Kids, but now they are successful and popular adults whose views are valued and sought out.
If the social hierarchy doesn’t make sense to you, if everyone is using Snapchat but your phone can’t handle it, if everyone loves these new hip tunes but you never really got over reggae, and if you just get so uncomfortable around people your own age, then seriously don’t worry. Things are going to get better, and high school isn’t forever.
Being a Cool Kid isn’t the most important thing, and the sooner you realize that the happier you will be.▼