To some people, high school was filled with all sorts of wonderful memories and it was a magical time in their lives. To others, high school was filled with teenage angst and piles of hormone-driven confusion. For most of us, the experience was somewhere in between.
We learned a lot during high school. We may have been exposed to William Shakespeare for the first time and we may have struggled with Pythagoras in math class. Interestingly enough, there are still things that we can learn from our high school experiences.
Just as there are many things that freelancers can learn from a couple of politicans and good driving habits, freelance writers can also gain a little bit of knowledge and insight from the phenomenon of high school cliques.
More than One Way to Make Friends
It doesn’t matter if you went to a liberally-minded school in Los Angeles or a more conservative private school in Connecticut. Chances are that you were surrounded by a number of different high school cliques (small, exclusive circles of people with a common purpose). There may have been a clique of friends who were really into sports and another group that had a thing for politics. Depending on your core interests and your greatest strengths, you could probably find a way into one of these cliques. Talk football with the jocks and you may be their new best friend. Chat up the fashionistas about America’s Next Top Model and you may find companions for the weekends.
The same can be said about the business of freelance writing. Surfing around online and attending various networking events in your area, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a group of people who can become great friends with you based on these common interests.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Following this same line of thought, high school cliques allow you to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. This helps to foster greater growth among all of you, because you can share your knowledge and expertise with one another. This is partly why I attend dot com pho, which is almost an extension of what a high school clique represents.
It Hurts to Be Excluded
There is always a negative side to everything and, as you may recall from your high school days, cliques can be a source of great pain and malaise as well. While it may sound awfully appealing to be included with the “cool kids” in school, it is equally hurtful to be excluded from this group for whatever reason. Human beings are social beings and we all have an inherent need to belong.
As a freelance writer, you may encounter a similar experience when you talk to people who hold conventional 9-to-5 jobs. They may look down on your choice of career, because they may not see it as a real job. Working from home on your own, you may feel excluded from the grander scheme of things. At the same time, you have to remember that you shouldn’t let the haters get you down. The path of the freelancer is certainly unconventional, so may feel left out from the “in” crowd. At times like those, just remind yourself why you chose to freelance in the first place.
None of It Will Matter Five Years from Now
Looking back at your high school days, you may remember how important you thought everything was and how it was the end of the world if you couldn’t keep up with the cool kids in school. Looking back, you may now realize that none of that really matters in the bigger picture. It’s been shown that some of the social outcasts in high school went on to be some of the greatest successes this world has ever seen. Take a look at someone like Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto. He looks like a dork and he probably wasn’t the most popular kid growing up, but look at the success he enjoys today.
Don’t let the small stuff get you down. High school cliques can simultaneously be a source of great joy (a sense of belonging) and great pain (a sense of being excluded), and your experience with freelance writing can be much the same. Just live through it and you can reflect on it five years from now.