And then there are nerds who reverse roles and become bullies themselves. A computer expert named Rob Collie wrote a blog post criticizing “Nerd Bullies.” He calls them traitors because they try to compensate for their “historically-instilled feelings of inferiority” by passing the pain and abuse they suffered on to other nerds: “Nerd Bullies suffered at the hands of the mob, and now they lead mobs (of other former sufferers!) against victims in their own communities.” However, he describes seeing Nerd Bullies at work in the online gaming and tech communities. We could not find any studies showing that nerd bullies are a problem within schools as well. Moving past the bullying and the somewhat accurate but incomplete view of popular kids and nerds in movies and on television, we find that their lives after high school are markedly different check this website.
Studies following popular kids into adulthood revealed mixed outcomes for them. A 2013 Leadernomics.com article cites the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which tracked the “social characteristics” and “career achievements” of students “who graduated from a Wisconsin high school in 1957.” This study showed that “popular students earned a higher income in the long run compared to those who were less popular.” However, a follow-up study by Yale professor Jason Fletcher called into question the findings of the original Wisconsin study. It included additional data from siblings attending the same school that showed the “impact of popularity on future pay simply vanished.” A University of Virginia study tracking young people from age 13 to age 23 also painted a less rosy picture for popular kids.
According to this study, “cool kids were more likely to have bigger troubles later in life.” These problems included drug and alcohol use as well as criminal activity. The study found that “as young adults, they were using 40% more drugs and alcohol than the ‘not so cool’ kids and were 22% more likely to be running into troubles with the law.” These things done to impress others hurt the popular kids in the long run. One of the researchers of the study, Joseph Allen, says that “teens trying so hard to be cool early in adolescence find the rewards of popularity in the short term, but their approach ultimately leads to a ‘dead end.’" The end result is what Allen calls the “‘high school reunion effect’”: "You see the person who was cool ... did exciting things that were intimidating and seemed glamorous at the time and then five or 10 years later, they are working in a menial job and have poor relationships and such .
. . ” In contrast, nerds often fare better than popular kids after they leave high school. The Daily Mail cites the same University of Virginia study mentioned earlier.
While the cool kids struggled as they grew older, the study found that “those who are less popular as teenagers end up doing better in life than their ‘cooler’ peers.” Allen and the other researchers of this study also “discovered the ones who were considered ‘geeks’ went on to outperform the others by the time they reached early adulthood.” In addition, Alexandra Robbins, author of The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth, attributes some of the nerds’ success to what she calls the Quirk Theory: “the traits which made the nerd alienated in school (unique personalities, passions and ideas) can end up being admired or valued traits in adulthood.” She argues that “being exceptional,” developing “coping strategies and independence,” and being “able to deal positively with stressful social situations” are some of the useful and valuable skills nerds learn while in school and later carry over into the workplace and beyond. What are your experiences with popular kids and nerds? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called What Makes Popular Kids Popular! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.
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