According to a book called the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, by reporter Alexandra Robbins, what makes you a "weirdo" in high school is the very thing that could ensure your future success.
Robbins maintains that the main characteristic that make the in-crowd popular—the willingness to conform —doesn't mean much when those people leave high school. She maintains that some of the most forward-thinking companies including Yahoo!—prioritize hiring quirky individuals who shun conventional thinking and don't conform.
It's interesting when Robbins talks about what's behind the hierarchical structures of high schools. She thinks schools indirectly encourage this way of thinking with the use of standardized testing. Students are rewarded more for regurgitating information back as it is fed to them more than forming opinions of their own. Creativity and innovation is rarely rewarded.
So to be a "weirdo" in high school — to risk, or not care about, alienation simply because you think differently — shows a great strength of character. And that is much more valuable in the real world than whether you follow the status quo.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.