Popularity is a difficult concept for people, well, at least for people who haven’t experienced it. Whether you experience is being the queen (or king) bee, or you are classified as the “nobody” next door, when you experience popularity it’s something that you can’t forget.
It’s not enough for you to watch popularity on TV. Popularity on TV seems set up for most people. While most people (I hope) aren’t bombarded by slushies because they’re different, as seen on the TV show, Glee, these shows while overdramatic portray some aspects of reality. A reality a person might find in Middle School.
Coming from Lower School, there isn’t a sense of major popularity. No one told me how this popularity thing would work. If you ask how popularity affects kids in lower school and ask middle schoolers, they’ll probably say not the same as it is now. Popularity, says a current 6th grader, is different from how it was last year. For a 6th grader, this whole new world of Middle School is a whole different ball park than Lower School. One situation could be that the person that was your friend decided to reinvent themselves. Reinventing yourself could be a good thing, but most of the time it isn’t (at least not in this case). Not to say that you can’t change; that’s not the issue. Most likely it’s the person who reinvented themselves also decided to reinvent their friends too, which is the nicer way of saying (I’m ditching you for other people who I think are cooler than you). Those situations can leave people feeling, well… left out. You might be leaving your ex-best friend to die in the big ocean, which more commonly known as middle school. Or your ex-best friend could also be leaving you for the sharks (aka, the popular people).
Our fond thoughts of Lower School might not be that fond at all. Even though some 6th graders remember Lower School as being the time of their lives, popularity was still a big part of 5th grade. There are people who aren’t as popular as others because they don’t like to play sports, or they are considered weird, or nerds, a current 5th grader reminds me. The truth is, things were pretty much the same as last year. It’s just that most people didn’t care. Why do we care then? If it didn’t bother us then, why is it so much more important to us now than it was back then? Well for one thing, in fifth grade we were the leaders of the lower school; the sharks one might call the 5th graders. Only now in 6th grade, we’re the bottom feeders. Exploring this new ocean may seem terrifying, and the fact that we are not accepted might be taken more sensitively than before because we are less confident.
Even so, you may be one the people who still doesn’t care about this popularity while others around you may feel very strongly about it. You should wonder, have I actually had a real conversation with that person, instead of a quick wave down the hallway? Do I ever sit with them at lunch? Even if you have a new set of friends, don’t forget about your old ones too (this means not only attempting to talk with them, but actually not running off when your newer friends show up). Just remember, your old friends were there, even before you were popular, and liked you no matter how weird you were. If you suddenly became unpopular (gasp!), would your new friends still be there for you, or would you be living in the movie, Mean Girls?