Why Being The Outcast In High School Was Never As Bad As It Seemed

by Megan Grant
Paramount PIctures

As a teenager, the high school experience feels a lot like: a) food poisoning,b) a scab, c) the worst four years of your life, or d) all of the above.

If you answered "d," your high school years were probably just as miserable as mine.

I hated high school. I was bored, bullied and couldn’t fit in if my life depended on it. The harder I tried, the worse it got.

I sometimes think about what I would do differently if I could go back and try it all over again, and then I start dry heaving from the mere thought of having to relive those years.

I would’ve saved myself so much agony if I knew and accepted these things:

1. Being single does not make you a leper.

It seemed as if your social status in high school was partially based on whom you were seen tonguing in the hallway.

Here is a complete list of the high school couples I knew that are still together today:

1) 2) 3)

It might be a good learning experience and rite of passage, but it does not determine your value or worth as a human being.

It doesn’t matter if you are the first person to get laid or the last, if you’re the whore or the prude, or if you’re straight as an arrow or gayer than Christmas.

2. There is nothing cute about being a bully.

Bullies are everywhere: at school, online and in the home. It sometimes seems the funniest teens are the ones who were funny at other people’s expense. That’s what those years are about, right?

Finding someone weaker than you and using him or her as your punching bag?

I can remember Danny Dumbass making fun of this kid who talked with a speech impediment, and we’d all be like “Haha” because making fun of people with speech impediments is, like, super awesome.

There is absolutely nothing funny, witty or sexy about being a dick to another human being.

3. No one will give a flying fart in space if you are popular.

Hanging with the cool kids in high school does not equal success later in life.

Being the prettiest or the sexiest doesn’t exclude you from ending up working a job you hate where the only question you ask all day is, “Would you like soup or salad?” It doesn’t mean you’re going to feel happy, fulfilled or ambitious.

In fact, it doesn’t say a single f*cking thing about how you feel about yourself.

It merely represents what everyone else thinks of you, and is that what defines us? No? Good. Moving on!

4. It doesn’t matter if your jeans are True Religion or Target brand.

I’ll never forget the day one of the rich, popular girls came up to not-so-rich, outcast me and commented on my shoes.

Rich-Popular Girl: “Like, oh my gosh, are those BCBG?”

Me: “Ohmygosh, totally!”

I had no clue what a BCBG was. In fact, I had to Google it just now to make sure I wasn’t mixing up the order of the letters.

I knew I couldn’t tell her the shoes came from the clearance rack, so I lied.

The point is this: You can wear Stella McCartney, or you can wear a garbage bag. You could even wear a garbage bag over your Stella McCartney. It doesn’t matter one iota.

5. There’s nothing wrong with caring about school. In fact, it’s awesome.

Being smart often makes you a nerd; being an overachiever can make you a total loser.

I know from experience. The “in thing” was to be chill, laid-back and not even remotely concerned about doing well in school.

But, you won’t get very far in life if you’re too stupid to spell your own name.

You're also not doing yourself any favors by intentionally dumbing yourself down because you think you’ll look cooler in other people’s eyes.

Being passionate about something is one of the neatest and most attractive things in the world.

6. The world is a giant dinner plate and you are but a crumb.

This isn’t to say you don’t matter. It’s to say many of the daily dramas of being a teen — your hair is frizzy, your crush didn’t talk to you, you didn’t get your favorite seat on the bus, etc. — are nothing to lose sleep over.

Life will be a hell of a lot easier and way more fun if you don’t sweat the small stuff.