I didn’t make much of a splash when I was in high school. I had my fair share of friends but I was never the popular kid, the kid everyone wanted to be friends with and everyone wanted to date. Unlike my peers, I didn’t go out much and wasn’t as goodlooking as the guys on the popular list.
But I wasn’t a nerd. Sure, I excelled in my literature and English classes, acing orations and debates, and I wrote a piece that impressed an English teacher. But in my other subjects, I only got enough to pass the course.
In short, I was an average joe.
Fast forward to my college life. I lost some of the weight, improved my style, and became competitive. I got into the top section in BS Psychology in UST and joined the paper and two socio-civic organizations. When I transferred to Perpetual, I joined the paper, the debate team, the theater group, the yearbook committee, and the student council. I was class president for two consecutive years and I’m currently the editor-in-chief of the campus paper. It’s funny how someone who used to be a mediocre student be where I am today. I am living proof that life is like a wheel – sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.
It’s funny to note that that bit also applies to popular people. When I run into my high school classmates, they’re always surprised at how I turned out. I’m no superstar, but I really changed a lot since high school. At the same time, I’m also surprised at how they turned out. The popular people who used to tease me look so normal. While I’m out and about in Armani and YSL, they’re trudging along, overweight and wearing the tackiest clothes. Sure, I’d run into some of them in clubs and they’d be all dressed up, but I can still trump them with my custom-made blazers and accessories from abroad. And then I’d wonder, these people were the popular ones?
When I compare high school and college, the popular kids are different. In high school, the populars are those who look good and who are rich. In my high school (an international school), these were the ones who were children of CEOs and celebrities. In college, these are student movers and leaders. Granted, some are popular because they’re beautiful, but that’s just about it.
I believe that it is better to become famous for what you do, not what you look like. Beauty is temporary and will disappear when you age (unless you have fantastic bone structure) or when you don’t take care of yourself. Yes, there are people who remain famous for their looks after they’ve aged. Such is the case for Gloria Diaz and Imelda Marcos, but really, are they famous for their looks or for what they’ve contributed to society?
I like intelligent people. These are the people who leave lasting impressions on me and the earth. This semester, I intern for the school’s Student Recruitment Services and it is my task to go to high schools and persuade them to enroll in Perpetual. It’s like being back there myself. I can see the cliques and the way the kids are distributed. It’s obvious to see who are the popular ones and who are the “nerds”, and I have to fight the temptation to tell the “nerds” that the popular kids will work for them in the future.
So to the nerds/geeks/losers/or whatever it is they call you to demean you, don’t be afraid to enjoy reading and writing. To hell if you don’t fit in by not watching low-brow television shows and movies. You shouldn’t be afraid of having sophisticated tastes. In a few years time, you’ll be paying their salaries. My only tip: cleanse, tone, and moisturize. You’d want to look good when you’re on the cover of a magazine.