How to become famous at school

Anand asks: How can I become famous in my school?

That’s a fascinating question, Anand! Thanks!

I definitely understand you wanting to become famous in your school. I had the same frustration once! In my obedience class, I ended up being the best student there – I learned the most, and did my tricks the best on the last day. But I’ll bet there’s not a single dog there who remembers me. You see, they were all way too focused on the treats their owners had to pay me much attention!

In a funny way, it’s really the same in human schools, isn’t it? Everyone there is worried about all sorts of things – wanting to do well on tests, wanting to be liked, wanting to fit in, wanting to stay out of the principal’s office, wanting to get out of this annoying desk and get outside and scream… So how much do they think about the other students?

Especially, it seems to me that there are two big issues here. First is how young or old you are. Handsome says he can easily name everyone in his first grade class with almost no thinking. But if you ask him about who was in the small college class he took a few years ago, he would struggle to remember a tenth of them. When you’re younger, your classmates are more important in your life, and so every one of them is famous. It’s later that you have to struggle more for fame.

Second, of course, is how big your school is. If you’re at a small private school, no matter how old you are, it’s like being in first grade: everyone is famous. But if you’re at a big school with hundreds of kids in each grade (or a college where there are even thousands), it’s much harder.

As I see it, whether at school or anywhere else, people are usually famous because of two qualities they have. The first is that they are unique. Anyone who is different from the rest of the group has a good chance of being somewhat famous. You probably know who the tallest kid in your school is, or the shortest. You probably know who the best singers are, the best athletes, or who’s considered the best looking. So they’re each unique in some way.

But it’s equally important to be noticed. Who at your school knows the most about the history of France? Who at your school has the best diary? Who at your school has done the most charity work at their church? Who has the best relationship with their family? You probably don’t know, because their unique qualities are things that most people don’t see.

So if there’s not something already famous about you, and you want to become famous, you need to make yourself unique and noticed. How can you do that? Well, of course, you could just get really good at something the other kids pay attention to. Train to be a great athlete, learn to play an instrument really well and create a band that plays at shows and dances, study acting and perform in the school plays, learn to speak well and run for office in the student government…

OR… you could be the worst! You could become famous for acting up in class, for bullying other kids, for using or selling drugs at school, for stealing, for getting in fights… Oh you’ll be famous all right! People will notice you, remember you… and avoid you… forever!

Or there’s one other thing you can do. You can be absolutely a great kid. You can be the kid who is good at some things and not so good at others, but everyone remembers because you’re the one who helped stop a fight, or took an injured girl to the nurse’s office, or made an unpopular guy feel better about himself after he messed up bigtime. It might not make you quite as famous as the top basketball star, but everyone who does remember you will remember that you were awesome.

Good luck with it! And remember, all this stuff about getting famous in school is true in the real world too. Fame is great, but it’s probably better to not be famous than to be famous for something rotten!

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