Popularity is overrated. They say it gets you things, and experiences that you deserve. But really popularity is just exclusive. It is often given by people who are also popular to keep it among themselves, to always have access to it and because they don’t believe everyone deserves it.
Popularity is often given to someone who pleases the crowd, someone who is funny, who speaks well, or someone who is often academically better than the rest. But what is not considered is that funny can be cruel, speaking well can change to dictatorship, and academic achievements are just academic achievements, they won’t help with everything.
When I began college, I thought it was important that I be popular, that everyone knew who I was, that everyone talked about me. I had enjoyed that luxury in school. I expected that popularity to just continue. But when that didn’t work out I didn’t know how to be okay with it. My seniors still knew me, but my juniors didn’t. I was not the person they automatically approached for any problem they had; I was not the cool senior everyone wanted to hangout with.
For someone so used to popularity, it was shocking that no one was automatically attracted to my charming self. But charm worked differently in college. I had to learn that the same rules didn’t apply. I wasn’t going to be liked by everyone because I was liked in school, nor was I going to be liked by everyone because I was good at what I did.
When I accepted it, it became easier to be okay that I had friends who were popular, but that I wasn’t.
Popularity has it’s own baggage. If you fail a class, you have to be okay with everyone knowing about it. If you like someone, it isn’t going to be a secret for a long time. If you don’t like someone, there may be a public fall out. And the worse part is that you end up sharing every moment with someone, so much that you don’t know how to be alone.
This popularity is not going to last more than your college years, so you won’t be prepared to be alone.
The expectations that come from popularity also take a toll on you. You have to perform the role of a person who is cool, who is good at everything they do, and you have barely any space to fail, because no one likes to see a hero fall. It takes effort to remain popular, and for popularity to not get to your head. But it is much easier to not always be the center of attention.
I am glad I wasn’t popular in college because I grew as a person. I wasn’t frozen in time, being the same person I was when I gained my popularity. I’m not saying that all popular people don’t change, but that somewhere there is a fear of the popularity going away if they changed too much.
Popularity is like power, with much of it, comes responsibility, and just like with power, it becomes too much to handle.