This is the story you don’t often hear, because people like me are usually stereotyped as the kids who end up stacking boxes at a budget grocery store, dreaming about those golden high school days. So here it is – a glimpse at a popular kid’s life after high school.
I was popular in high school. At any given time during my 4 years, every student and faculty member knew and loved me. I was that girl that was neither particularly pretty nor particularly smart (that’s right – intelligence was a measure of popularity at my school), but somehow was popular anyway.
But when I graduated and went off to a mid-size university where my graduating class of 2000 students is more than three times the population of my entire high school, things started to change. Gone were the days when I didn’t have to worry about where I’d sit in the cafeteria or classroom because there was always one saved for me. While people used to know my name, birthdate, favorite color, and shoe size, I was now lucky if people even recognized my face.
I was shocked, to say the least. How did I end up here? Where were my old friends and admirers? Had I peaked in high school? God, please don’t tell me I peaked in high school. But as college grew on me and I began to find my place, I realized that I had been letting my popularity define me. Without it, I felt lost. I felt as if there was nothing important in my life anymore.
But there had to be. Motivated by my complete lack of self-esteem and self worth, I embarked on a journey to find my identity beyond my popularity. What did I have to lose? I was already so discouraged. So I blogged, I journal-ed, I confided in mentors, and, admittedly, I had lengthy conversations with myself in the shower.
Only a few short months later, I came to the oddly calming conclusion that I am anonymous. I am simply a number, a statistic. In the grand scheme of things, the universe will not remember me or the things I did. But I still matter. I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mentor, a roommate, a confidante, and so much more. I may not make any substantial difference in the world as a whole, but I can make a difference in my world. I guess that’s the great paradox that is our lives.