In Life

To all the popular kids who peaked in high school: It doesn’t get better

What a great video.

It Doesn’t Get Better from Jason Headley

I wasn’t a popular kid by any means, but that doesn’t mean that all popular kids were mean and horrible.

Luckily, we also didn’t have that horrible culture at my high school where being smart was a bad thing, but it wasn’t something that popular kids focused on, but they were certainly a little envious of kids who were smart.

There were some great popular kids at my school who were kind, friendly and generous… and not to mention, SMART.

The others who were popular but mean?

Well, they’re pretty much represented in this video, and yes.. they did peak in high school.

I ran into one girl who was pretty, skinny and considered a catch in school, and she was working at McDonald’s when I was about to graduate from business school.

She wasn’t mean to me at all, but she certainly peaked at the end of high school and didn’t care about studying.


She saw me and ran to the back to hide. I guess she was too embarrassed to talk to me.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. She Doesn’t Even Go Here – Whitney's Wanderous Thoughts

    […] in high school, but not for the rest of your life, my dad says a quote quite similar to this, “Don’t peak in high school.” This has been a prominent saying in my household. My dad has drilled this into the brains of my […]

  2. Andrew Martin

    This is really upsetting to me that people have to see the world like this. What’s so different from the so called “popular kids” to the so called “nerds.” Everybody wants to be loved and everybody wants to feel like they matter. The reason the “popular kids” or “jocks” are better looking is because they are active and play sports and want to be the best baseball player or football player they can be so they focus on getting stronger. So they focus one hundred percent of their time getting stronger, a person that likes acting or music will spend most of their time getting better at that. Why? Because that is what they love. And they will be around the people that have the same interest as they do. If you shrunk high schools and everybody knew everyone, you would have more of a community base where bigger schools are more like that. People who want to think they are better than anybody else because of the way they look or act or the people they hangout with deserve to work at McDonald’s.

    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Good point, and well said!

  3. BRS

    I am under the impression that a great deal of people are bitter towards the people who are or were popular in highschool. I am interested in a few things other than the economic successes of my foes. Who they choose to spend time with, thier physical appearance, how they spend thier time outsid of work.
    My brothers and my parents were the Popular people in highschool. My older brothers are six and seven years my senior, one is the CEO of a succesful company, the other owns a $3 million house in the inner city. niether recieved financial support from my parents. I am not sure what the “peak” but I feel that if all of you people are fixated on it you may need to look hard into the mirror and sort out your own lives rather than blaming your problems on others. If highschool was traumatic for you I think you need therapy, they can do wonders if you and have techniques to lessen the episodes caused by the triggers that are your traumatic memories from highschool.
    My parents and one of my brothers are bullies (not the CEO one). My old man still talks about highschool, both my parents still see the same people. Like you the peakers never move on.
    I personally do not know why, going from housing commision to being a high level exec in a large bank building a seven bedroom water front house with a guest house in a nice suburb paying cash. STILL STUCK IN HIGHSCHOOL mode is beyond me.
    I was obese in HS Bi sexual and have homophobe parents……Did not stop me from moving on NOT!

    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      It doesn’t sound like you’ve moved on if you’re still ranting about the memories.

      And really, how can any of us truly move on from our past? It is immutable. It made us who we are, for better or for worse.

  4. shay

    I know a guy who’s popular he does drugs but hes popular. I guess this means he has a sad future ahead of him. but he was a great friend of mine and I don’t think he deserves a sad future. ;(

  5. K

    Some of these comments sadden me. And I don’t mean in an “I feel bad that happened to you” way. Talking about snubbing people or getting LASIK and a nose job doesn’t make you cool… It makes you have more in common with those people that treated you poorly.

    I was incredibly picked on in middle school (some kids even put lotion all in my hair on the bus ride home one day), but if I saw those kids now, I wouldn’t snub them. I won’t comment on the LASIK or nose job further because maybe the nose job was for health reasons (though I doubt it).

    In fact, yesterday a girl who wasn’t the nicest to me came into my part-time job that I work for the discount (I have a real job and am in school). Super odd since I went to high school almost 5 hours away. We talked as I rang her out. No big deal.

    Being mean to people who were mean to you isn’t the answer. Treating them like humans and acknowledging them, in my opinion, is.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thanks for giving us all a grounded perspective. To be clear, I wouldn’t snub anyone from school but it is hard to forget what they’ve done to you psychologically as a kid. At least in my case it wasn’t that bad (was never beaten, etc) but sometimes I still have nightmares.

    2. save. spend. splurge.

      Oh and I should mention that I guiltily indulge in schadenfreude from time to time. I secretly feel good that karma came around.

  6. Anonymous

    Yeah I was one of those kids who peaked after h.s. graduation. I was VERY unpopular. I think I had 4-5 friends my entire run in high school. It was a very lonely, isolating, & depressing time.

    After h.s. I got LASIK, a nose job, dental veneers and if I saw anyone from my h.s. other than my friends, I would ignore them or snub them. There were a couple of popular kids who were nice and I was nice back to them. I hope they’re doing well but that’s it.

    The rest, eh… I since moved away from the town I went to h.s. and moved to another state, have no plans to go to any h.s. reunions, I’m not interested in gloating. I have better things to do with my time.

    My BF well he didn’t care for h.s., hated it, refuses to go to any reunions. They had their 10 year reunion a while back and his friend asked him if he wanted to go, he said no, but the friend did send him a link of the reunion site if he was interested.

    He went through the pix and realized several of the girls that were considered the “hottest” girls were actually very average looking now. He also realized some of the “nerdy” guys didn’t do anything with their lives either.

    It depends what you do with your time. That’s kind of funny how she ran as soon as she saw you.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’d agree that I had fewer friends, but they were quality friends which is kind of my MO these days. I am not really into having a huge circle of false friends or light acquaintances. I want real friendships. People I can call at 2 a.m. and cry on the phone (if need be) and have them be totally there for me.

      I too had bad teeth which contributed to my self-consciousness. Braces fixed that.

      I hate reunions as well. I haven’t been back to any, even my college one. It’s funny how people really change after high school. I had the same reaction, the girls that were so into being super skinny and “hot” are now an average woman’s size — dress size ~8 and not into being dolled up any more. Kids changed them I think.

      1. Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.: Hi thanks for sharing, it’s good to hear I’m not alone in my experiences. 🙂

  7. debt debs

    Usually the way it goes. Better to not be popular in high school, there are better things to come!

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Or at least if you are popular, be kind!

  8. NZ Muse

    A lot of the popular girls at my school weren’t actually dumb, at least in my year (I think our year was actually a pretty good one and pretty intelligent overall; I think the year ahead of us not so much. Dunno about the one below). I would say most of them have actually done pretty well as adults.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Perhaps they’re less catty in NZ 🙂

  9. nicoleandmaggie

    I saw a video with one of the guys from our high school who has made it big (you’ve heard of him–that’s why they were interviewing him). He mentioned that back in high school girls wouldn’t give him a second look, but he doesn’t have that problem now.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      *shakes head* Kids can be really cruel.

      1. nicoleandmaggie

        I don’t know that not wanting to date a guy is quite the definition of “cruel”… perhaps adults wanting to date him now that he’s rich and famous is more morally questionable?

        1. save. spend. splurge.

          Oh they didn’t also make fun of him? I assumed they did.

          Normally just being ignored is not enough for a lot of kids..

  10. MakintheBacon

    I concur.

    I wasn’t very popular in elementary school. In fact, I got made fun of a lot due to being one of the first people getting braces, being smart and shy. There was a group of kids who considered themselves cool, but they were really snotty. Especially the girls.

    High school was a bit better. I didn’t get made fun of so much for being nerdy and lost most of my awkwardness. I wouldn’t say I was really popular but I had a lot more friends, from different groups.

    My partner says he peaked at elementary school (which is too early) and feels like he is now on a plateau, whereas I feel like I haven’t peaked yet, but am on a slow, upward, somewhat steady climb (with the occasional dips of course).

    I’ve seen some of those so-called popular girls recently. And what do you know. Still the same. Snobby, annoying and b*tchy.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Girls hit you where it hurts the most — psychologically.

      I peaked after college which is a good thing. Hopefully am still on the rise 😉

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