Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/11/2009

Life is NOT High School


self explanatory

unsuccessful? impossible.


New York Magazine is reporting about a new study. The study, sadly titled “Popularity,” reports that how popular you were in high school actually does affect your success in later life. 

My ass it does. 

Why would this study, which was probably done by nerds, crush all of my dreams about the socially conscious, academia-loving nerds taking over the world one by one in a collective rage against popular society for abandoning them in their formative years? WHY?

Good news is the way the study measures success is purely by economic standards. And in a way that makes sense — people who were popular in high school probably got a nice head start on the whole networking thing, which is probably useful in business. (No worries, FBombers, I conferred with my Dad who has actually worked in the world of business. He has confirmed networking is important. And that business is a popularity contest in a lot of ways. How uplifting.) Also, if you have trouble communicating with other people, you’re probably not going to convince your boss to give you that promotion. 

But wtf economic success is not life success. There are many different ways to be successful. And besides, it is very possible to be rich and unhappy. I’d rather be blissfully immersed in geekdom than be wildly popular whilst still feeling unfulfilled. Yes I would.

So hang on, geekfriends. The world is your oyster despite what a study might tell you. 

And I’m sorry but who the hell paid for this study anyway? Why would anyone give money to find out something as completely useless and depressing as this when there are real problems in the world?

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  • Jill @ at 3:26 pm, July 11th, 2009

    So, this is absolutely not my experience from being 47 now either, Julie. Do not despair, at all.

    I took the name of the institute from the NYMag article and googled it – here’s the result:


    It’s an Alaskan institution.

    Then, I googled around a bit for the study. Anyone interested can download it from here (pdf):


    So, I didn’t get a jt degree w/sociology and gov’t and then with law and social work for nothing. :) When you see these kinds of studies, immediately find out who was in the sample.

    What we learn is that the group was 100% white people in Wisconsin. No cut on white people, no cut on Wisconsin. But we need to understand the limitations of how a longitudinal study, started in 1957, holds up in 2009 as far as being applicable to the high school students of today who were born around…doing the math in my head! About 1990 through 1996.

    Can we really compare adolescence and the high school experience, post WWII and during Korea, to post-9/11 and an eight year war in Iraq?

    I am not answering any of that, but I am saying, the NY Mag should have done more research before putting this out there. I suspect one reason we’re not seeing this study all over the place is in part because of it’s limited applicability.

    Anyway – that’s my read on it – I like yours too. :)

  • pozycjonowanie stron Warszawa @ at 4:31 pm, April 6th, 2011

    Thanks a ton for another interesting website. Where else can I get that type of information written such a great way? I have a job that I’m at the moment focusing on, and I’ve been on the check for such information.

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