How To Be Cool In High School


When I was in a strict private high school, we were divided into different cliques who didn’t mix together, akin to a prison environment. At the top of the chain, there were the cool people. To be cool, you either had to excel at sports, sell drugs, have a very confident/outgoing personality or a strong I don’t give a fuck attitude.

In the middle, there were the average people, with no extreme qualities or flaws, which comprised most of the student population. These were majorly followers, cruising their way through life with little ambition but with less stress than most as well.

Then there were the rejects. Being a reject was worse than having AIDS, because at least venereal diseases could be kept a secret. This lowest of lowest of statuses was branded on one’s face and soul forever — in the eyes of a teenager anyway. Nobody wanted to look at them, talk to them, or be seen with them, unless it was in the context of beating them up, spitting in their hair or laughing at them. They were alone, or worse, they had to hang out with the teachers during lunch.

A lot of these kids started with very bad cards in their decks: some stank like rotting corpses, some were extremely shy, some were a bit too ugly and some hadn’t hit puberty even at age 16. Sometimes though, an average kid could end up being a reject due to circumstances. This was the case of the new kid.

The new kid had arrived in the fourth year of high school. Like a lot of teens his age, he was not too sure of himself and hadn’t formed a complete identity yet. He didn’t know anyone, so he had to join a group fast, which was hard to do once everyone knew each other. The pressure was on, because if he was seen alone with no friends for too long, people would start talking and his reputation would suffer.

Time was running out and desperation started filling his lungs. Soon, if he didn’t change his situation, he would become a reject. He had to do something, but what?

The rise

One day, during class, the religion teacher was bored with himself and decided to take it out on the new kid in front of everybody by asking him questions. Realizing that his student hadn’t been giving one shit about what was being taught, he kept pestering him with more questions in an attempt to ridicule him, which started to irritate the new kid. An argument ensued and it escalated in front of the entire class. The new kid was getting a verbal beat down until he got angry and bluntly said something along the line of “lick my anus”. The entire class started laughing really loud for a long moment. The religion teacher was humiliated and out of words. He furiously sent him to the principal’s office.

Now keep in mind this was a serious offense in a private high school, where insulting teachers was a serious matter that could get him expelled. In the same year, one student with a complete virgin record had been kicked out because he mooned the class during an oral presentation. Luckily though, the new kid only got suspended, and I can only imagine the hard time he was given by his overly strict, square parents. But when he returned, he was in for a surprise.

One of the cool kids had noticed him and thought that what he said was awesome. He was the coolest and the smoothest of all the slick kids of our year, the top of the pile. Let’s call him Coolio. Coolio introduced the new kid to his gang and befriended him. As a consequence, his life changed dramatically overnight. He entered a completely new foreign universe.

Suddenly, it seemed like the entire planet liked him and everybody wanted to be his friend. Since he was in the highest clique, random people gave him free respect and ass kissed him all day. The girls, who at first didn’t care one bit about him, started noticing him and hanging out with him. Sometimes he could be seen holding some of the hottest girls hands, much taller and much prettier than him. He became a completely different guy in a matter of a few days: he was so happy he was literally dancing and singing in the corridors, head high, like he owned the world. He became a class clown, and to his credit, he was quite funny; he was also amicable with most people.
But as time passed, he became more and more cocky and more and more arrogant. After a few months of this love/success cocktail, his ego had become bigger than his talent. Tension was building between him and the leader of the group. The new kid was starting to take too much space.

The lesson

One day, he was playing poker with his friends. The bets were 25 cents, and he was on a luck streak, getting the best hands rounds after rounds. Coolio got angry. He accused him of cheating. On the outside, the two boys were arguing over a few meaningless bucks, but the real argument was about them being tired of each other. The new kid didn’t back down — after all, he was hot shit now, wasn’t he?

The discussion ended with non-amicable fuck you’s and the new kid walked out angrily like a diva with hurt feelings. He thought he could pull that off, but he had forgotten one thing: Coolio was still pulling the strings. He was the one who brought him in and the one who could take him out.

Coolio started talking mad shit, saying the new kid was a faggot and a cry baby loser. The word was out. The leader had spoken. It had as much weight as a priest excommunicating the heretic from a religious community. The new kid was cursed and doomed to be uncool. The other cool people still liked him, but they preferred Coolio and had to stick behind him. The average people who gave him free respect and love didn’t really care for him now that he wasn’t in the clique anymore. The girls who were flirting with him stopped finding his jokes hilarious and started avoiding him. He had an “L” branded on his forehead. He was alone once again.

He had to do something. After a few weeks, he was an outcast, not having any friends or anyone to talk to. On an afternoon recess, he couldn’t take the loneliness anymore, so he went towards the table of rejects. But he had never acknowledged them during his 15 minutes of fame. They disliked him. The rejects rejected him. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Keep up with Nikolao on Website

More From Thought Catalog