The scrapbooks I bought for both
of my daughters to commemorate my pregnancies and their births had a page in it
where I was meant to write my hopes and dreams for them, but for the longest
time I left it blank. Verbalizing my aspirations for my infant girls proved to
be too daunting.
That is, until it occurred to me
that I wanted my daughters to be just like Tina Fey. I didn’t necessarily want
them to need to wear black-rimmed glasses or be on the receiving end of the
Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor (although worse things could
happen, I suppose). But I realized that most of the nerds I knew growing up —
the kids who weren’t consumed with popularity at all costs — were able to enjoy
more meaningful pursuits starting at a younger age.
As it turns out, however, if my
girls end up taking my advice, they will be worse off in the long run, with
Tina Fey the prize cheese standing alone in a sea of less successful nerds.
According to the The
Washington Post, researchers are now working on the theory that popular
kids in high school out-earn their geekier counterparts “even decades after
A survey of over 10,000 men and
women who graduated from a Wisconsin high school in 1957 was used to make
the determination, and the social characteristics and career achievements of
respondents were studied in follow-ups continuously through the years.
Popular kids end up earning 2 to
10 percent more than their non-popular classmates, according to the study. The researchers owed the
difference in part to the connections made leading to more opportunities later
in life, but also to the fact that if you’re well-liked when you’re young,
chances are you retain those likable qualities later on.
Which isn’t to say that
less-popular people can’t be happy or fulfilled, of course, but it now it just
makes it that much harder to imagine how I’ll eventually convince my girls that
it’s OK if they aren’t invited to sit at the cool table in the cafeteria.