Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

“The Bridge” Over the River High School

West Hartford, Conn., U.S.A. – By the summer before freshman year, you’ve probably already placed yourself in a social class.
Don’t say there isn’t a social ladder in your school system. Though many parents and teachers tell kids that everyone is equal in school, a social ladder still stands.
You might be a Jock, Prep, Nerd or Goth. These are the most mentioned classes but there are dozens of others.
Chances are you may not see yourself in a class. This is understandable because you naturally want to be liked by everyone but there is no social class everyone likes.
To be truthful, the fact is you will ALWAYS be hated by someone. Anyways, none of the classes I’ve mentioned so far matter. If you look at the big picture, there are only three true classes.
It’s sort of like Pre-Revolutionary France’s First, Second and Third Estates, which you will learn about in freshman history class. Sort of like them, but oh, so different.

The System
Because it’s based on popularity, you might think that Jocks are the upper class, Preps fall into the middle and Goths and Nerds are at the bottom. However, you would be wrong. I have met lower-class Jocks, middle-class Goths and upper-class Nerds. No bull!
The classes are better described as “Popular,” “Average” and “Losers.” It’s kind of harsh, but you’ll see it makes sense.
Losers are actually the minority because to be considered a Loser, you have to have no friends. But it’s not the fact that you have no friends that makes you a Loser, it’s that you don’t even try to make friends.
Loser is a temporary class because eventually you buck up and talk to people to lose your Loser status. Losers constantly move up to Average so if you think you’re a loser, which I highly doubt, you won’t be one for long.
The Popular students surprisingly make up a large portion of the student body. This is because it’s possible to be popular in so many different ways.
The Nerds can become popular by helping people with homework. Jocks become popular because people respect their athletic talent. Gothic people can become popular by being music savvy. Preppy people can be popular because they get the latest fashions.
But then there are people who are popular for reasons unknown to mankind. They don’t become popular. They just are. These are the popular people that sometimes are made fun of because there’s nothing special about them. Yet they remain popular. These are people I will never understand.
The largest group is the Average group. This is the group I’m in and you are probably in, too. (I don’t think you’d be reading this if you’re popular.) They are the has-been Populars and relieved former Losers.

The Losers
This will all sound cliché, but it is the total truth. There’s not much to say about Losers. These are the guys that you see in most movies about high school, the kids sitting alone in the cafeteria. After school they go straight home. They usually bike or walk home from school, afraid to take the bus. They will be partners with each other in class, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends. They’re united but divided at the same time. You don’t want to remain a Loser.

The Populars
Party-time all the time! These guys know how to live … and piss off everyone else at the same time.
Populars have full tables at lunch and are the only ones allowed to start food fights. Unless there’s a genius in the class, they will be called on first.
Some Averages may be better at basketball, but the Popular “b-ballers” get picked for the team first because they’re the ones that have the connections.
As mentioned before, they have parties frequently and go to the mall every weekend. They are the ones who start most of the rumors and even more of the fashions.
If marketers want to sell to teens, I think they seek out these kids and give them their product first, free of charge. (Must be how Crocs and Uggz got so popular.) They have total disregard for the Averages and for the Losers. If the Populars want to stay where they are, though, they really have to do their best to be a jerk.

The Averages
Honestly, there are no movies about Averages. They’re always about Losers or Populars who get tossed around and often end up where they were at the start.
We’re really nothing special, but in a way we are. Some of us, at least at my school, are starting to call the Averages “The Bridge.”
We are the connection between the Losers and the Populars, and we’re always getting tread on.
We try to come to Populars’ parties and we try our best to stay after school and attend sporting events.
Our tables are full because we constantly try to make new friends, in the hope of getting enough to become a Popular. To remain an Average, we really just have to be ourselves and keep friends.

Can social classes interact with each other?
Yes and no. Averages can interact with Losers and Populars, but Losers and Populars can only interact within themselves or with Averages – never with each other.
That’s why we’re “The Bridge.” However, it still doesn’t mean we’re friends with both.
In order to be friends with someone, you have to be in their social class. If you become friends with a Loser, then you become a Loser. If you’re fortunate to befriend a Popular then congratulations, you’ve been bumped up to Popular.
Obviously, because of this, there is no inter-social class dating, either. It would be like a queen or a king courting a stable cleaner.

What to do
If you’re thinking that maybe you could start a revolution, overthrow the Populars and topple the social ladder, stop thinking about it.
There’s a law of nature that says it simply can’t be done.
My advice is to get into the Averages by just making friends and being nice. Stay there but don’t try to move up. No one has ever truly become popular by being nice.
I think I may have been a Popular once … possibly … but it’s too much of a hassle.

Wesley Saxena is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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