Why Being the “Cool Kid” in High School Isn’t Always a Good Thing
High school is a time in our lives where we try to fit in and be accepted by our peers. Many of us strive to be the “cool kid” in high school, hoping to gain admiration from friends and peers. However, a new study shows that this may not be the best way to go.
Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, conducted a study that followed 184 students from the ages of 13 to 23. About 20% of these students were classified as “risk-taking, socially precocious cool kids.” They sought out friends who were physically attractive, had emotionally intense relationships, and dabbled in minor delinquency such as skipping school and vandalism.
What the Study Found
The study found that many of the “cool” kids in high school ended up being adults with alcohol and substance abuse problems. These individuals were more likely to have been in trouble with the law than those who were not considered cool. Their minor delinquency as a teenager turned into a more serious crime as adults, with serious repercussions in the real world.
Why Did it Happen?
Scientists refer to the actions these “cool” kids took as pseudomaturity. These teens skipped important life stages such as developing long-lasting relationships and building usable skills. Instead, they went right into promiscuity and binge-drinking. They wasted precious time doing things that did not benefit their future, such as joyriding and getting drunk and high with people they did not care about.
Fast-forward 10 years, and those who spent their high school years wisely went on to graduate level coursework, and the “cool” kids lacked a proper foundation to get started in the real world. Instead, they found themselves delving into old, detrimental habits, such as binge-drinking and using drugs. These former “cool” kids use these habits to cope with their own inadequacy. Ironically, those who yearned to hang out with the older crowd when they were younger, end up wanting to hang out with the younger crowd the older they get.
In our quest to impress everyone around us with our coolness, we end up doing irreparable damage to our minds, bodies, and personalities. The teens who grew up too fast ultimately hit a wall within years of becoming an adult. Ironically, they end up never truly growing up at all. It is crucial to prioritize our future by making wise decisions in high school and developing long-lasting relationships rather than trying to fit in with the “cool” crowd.
In conclusion, it is essential to realize that being cool in high school may not translate into success in the real world. We need to focus on building a solid foundation in high school that will benefit us in our adult life. We should prioritize building long-lasting relationships and developing meaningful skills that will help us succeed in the real world.