Recognize that being an outcast isn't the end of the world. As cliché as it is, your social position in high school really won't matter ten years from now. Your social ranking in school does not prevent you from turning your life around and doing what you want to do, whether it's now or in the future. It's crucial to realize that this is only one part of your life, and while it may feel like a lot now, it's not going to mean a whole lot in the future.
If you used to be popular, and now you're an outcast, that's okay, too. People shed labels all the time, since many of them no longer fit or apply to their lives.
Accept yourself for who you are. There may be a specific reason that you're an outcast, or there may not be. Regardless, it's important to recognize that your social standing doesn't affect your worth and that you're still an important person with many good qualities and some flaws. You're not perfect, but you don't need to be. You're fine just the way you are, outcast or not, and anything that may contribute to you being an outcast is fine, too.
Recognize that no matter what makes you different – whether it's your identity, your interests, a disability, a hobby, a rank in school or work, or anything else – you're still your own person, and your traits make you into who you are. There's nothing wrong with that.
Identify your strengths. Feeling ostracized by your peers can take a toll on your self-esteem, which isn't good for anyone, and will make your high school experience a whole lot less enjoyable. It's important to remember the good things about yourself, and know that those things are necessary parts of your self-identity. Take some time and write a list of what you're good at.
For example, if you're a good cook, good at writing, and good at photography, write those things down. List your talents, achievements, and things you do that make you feel good.
Don't put down your strengths! If you catch yourself falling into the trap of “I like science, but I'm not good at it” or “I'm good at socializing, except for that one time when…”, take a step back and remind yourself that you're looking for your strengths, not your flaws or one-time mistakes.
Spot your weaknesses, but don't beat yourself up for them. Everyone has their weaknesses, and acknowledging them will help you grow. Take a neutral standpoint and write a list of things that you don't think you do very well, things that you wish you didn't do, and what you can do to improve those things (and therefore, improve yourself). Be honest – don't shy away from writing down things you're embarrassed about or ashamed of. If you can acknowledge that you did something you're not proud of, you can take another step towards not doing it again.
Nothing prevents you from changing as a person. Even if you have a history of treating others poorly, there's nothing stopping you from changing your thought processes and treating people better.
If you find yourself slipping into negative thought patterns while doing this, such as “I can't do anything right” or “There's nothing good about me”, stop those thoughts. Take a break to do something you enjoy, and remember your good qualities.
Decide what needs to change, and what doesn't. This doesn't mean to change yourself to fit in with others; this means to change any potentially harmful or destructive behaviors you may have. For example, constantly interrupting people is a habit that may discourage others from talking to you and is a habit that you may want to change. You don't need to change yourself into not being an outcast, but getting rid of bad habits can make your high school life a lot easier in many ways.
If you have self-destructive habits such as self-injuring, excessively drinking, suicidal ideation, or anything else that could have severe negative impacts on your life, find someone who can help you, whether it's a trusted adult, a professional, or even someone on the other end of a crisis hotline. You deserve to feel happy and loved, even if you don't think so.
Remember that things change. As you get older and go through high school, things will change over time. Some of these things might be your social ranking, or someone else's social ranking, or just life in general. People take different stances on life, and many of them grow up and mature (especially in high school). Your status as an outcast may change – but so may your view of being an outcast. You won't feel this way forever.
Your freshman year will be much different from your senior year, in combination with people maturing and life changes.
Talk to someone who can help. If being an outcast is hard for you to cope with, you don't need to suffer in silence. Find someone who you can talk to, such as a family member, a close friend, or a professional. Don't stay silent – you don't need to go through this alone.
Recall that high school only lasts for a few years. If absolutely everything you do doesn't help you and you still end up miserable throughout high school, just remember that high school is only a few years long. Once you're done with it, you'll go on to live your life in the way that you want to – whether it involves traveling, working, building new relationships, or anything else that you choose to do. Those three or four years in high school aren't going to be especially significant in the long run.
If you really don't want to have to deal with all of that time, see if it's possible for you to graduate high school early. While it's not a path that everyone chooses to take, it lets you get out of school earlier. However, this may affect the graduation activities that you get to participate in.
Dropping out of school may seem like a viable solution, but it can have an extremely negative impact on things like job prospects. However, you can consider dropping out if you have more reasons for it than just being an outcast.
Change your attitude. Yes, you're an outcast. Does that need to affect everything you do or say? A negative attitude will only drive others away from you, isolating you and just making you more of an outcast! Even though it can be hard, do your best to be positive and kind. You may end up making friends that way – and even if you don't, you'll be more likable than someone who's rude and arrogant.
Keep in mind that the energy you put out affects who approaches you. Someone who scowls all day, is sarcastic and snarky, and is generally negative will attract more negative people than someone who does their best to have a smile on their face and be positive.
It's okay to have bad days, but do your best to not be a complete rage-filled monster on those days. There's a difference between glaring at someone who bumped into you in the halls, and screaming at them.
Be friendly towards others. Even if it doesn't get you anywhere in terms of your social ranking, being friendly is important. By smiling and waving at people, and showing receptiveness to others being friendly to you, you open yourself up to potentially making friends and showing others that you're comfortable in your own skin. And even if you're friendly to people treating you poorly, who knows? Maybe you'll even get them to stop being rude to you!
Be friendly towards your teachers, too! Even if you don't like them, it's best to be polite. Remember, they're your teachers, so if you get on their bad side and then get in trouble, they're not likely to back you up, even if they know you're in the right.
Keep up your grades. Homework's not fun, but school will be a whole lot less fun if you fail all your classes and have to repeat them. Do your best to get good grades (or improve them, if they're low), and get extra help in class when you need it. If you have good grades, that's one less thing that can prevent you from having fun as an outcast.
If being an outcast is causing you problems with your grades – for example, nobody will pair up with you for group work and it's affecting your grade – talk to your teacher and find a solution to the problem. Many times, teachers are willing to make accommodations for students who are doing their best.
Find people who are like you. Being an outcast isn't the end of the world, but at the same time, it's nice to have people to spend time with. If being an outcast is disappointing to you, then consider trying to find other outcasts to spend your time with. Even if you don't think you're like them, or you're disgusted at the thought of spending time with outcasts, consider that they might actually turn out to be great friends of yours and that you won't need to spend all your time at school alone.
Strike up conversations with your classmates. Search for those with similar interests and mindsets.
Try talking to the quieter kids or the kids that you wouldn't expect yourself to hang out with. Oftentimes, the people you don't expect to find yourself friends with turn out to be better people than you anticipated.
Be cautious with certain crowds. While you're free to spend time with whoever you want to, you should be feeling happy with your friends, not on-edge or lousy. If your “friends” put you down, leave them. It's better to be alone than to have people around who don't appreciate you for who you are. (And, obviously, your friends should never pressure you to do anything illegal or that you're not comfortable with.)
It's okay to prefer being alone. Many introverts prefer to be alone.
Ignore people who mock or bully you. Yes, you've been told it time and time again, but if you're getting bullied, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Bullies just want to get a reaction out of you and see that they're making you miserable, and remember, they don't truly understand you – even if you thought they did. (If they understood you, why would they be trying to upset you?) Tune them out, go somewhere else, and just prove to them – and to yourself, too – that they won't get a reaction out of you.
That being said, you don't have to suffer if someone is being cruel or abusive. If this person won't stop bothering you, talk to an adult and figure out a solution. If the adult doesn't listen or care, go to more adults until somebody actually helps you. Just because you're an outcast doesn't mean you have to put up with people treating you poorly.
Find extracurricular activities. School doesn't have to be entirely boring, no matter whether it's during breaks or after classes – and extracurriculars can be a great place to find friends, too, if you want them. Check out your school's list of clubs or extracurricular options, or ask your school counselor if they know of anything you could have a look at. And if all else fails, try looking to see if you can start your own club at school – you may well bring people together with it!
Join a club that sounds interesting to you. It doesn't matter what that club is – just check it out, see if it's interesting, and if it is, join.
Sports teams are a common choice for high schoolers, but you can also check out things like robotics teams and community service teams.
Don't force yourself to be a certain way. Your teenage years are hectic and ever-changing, so why spend them trying to be anything but a better person than you used to be? Trying to shove yourself into a narrow, confined “personality box” and act or look a certain way won't get you anywhere, nor will faking friendships or happiness. Why would you want to spend your high school years in a personality that doesn't fit you? Your personality and interests grow and shape on their own; trying to force them to grow in a certain direction won't do anything except make you miserable when it doesn't work the way you want it to.
Attempting to fit in with popular kids won't do much, especially if you used to be one of them but aren't popular now. This will most likely just subject you to ridicule.
Spend time doing things and hanging out with people that you actually like, not people you pretend to like. There's nothing worse than doing something you don't like just because you're worried about what your peers will think about you.
Remember to study. Even if you're an outcast, it's important to keep your grades up. Your grades do have an influence on not only what you do in the future, but on your work ethic, as well. Developing a strong work ethic and learning how to manage your work and prioritize it will be important later on in life – or even now, if you end up getting a job as a teen.
Make studying fun, if you have trouble with it. There's no law dictating that studying needs to be boring.
Study in a way that suits you best. If you learn best by reading from the textbook, then do that. If you learn best by creating study guides, do that. As long as you can remember the information, it doesn't matter the method you used to remember it.
Engage in activities that you enjoy. Chances are, you already have some hobbies that you like to do, even if they're not your absolute favorite things or things that you're very talented at. You can try using these enjoyable activities as rewards for when you finish something or try something new, to develop a sense of self-discipline. It's important to make sure that you're not just boring yourself throughout your high school years!
Try learning something new. Whether it's driving, baking, biotechnology, music synthesizing, or anything else that you find an interest in, finding something to learn about can give you a new hobby or skill that you can choose to pursue. Who knows what you'll end up doing and/or enjoying in the future? If you use your high school years to experiment around with new things, you might even find your passion.
Spend time with your family. Yeah, it's probably not what you want to do, but the vast majority of the time, your family would be happy to spend their time with you. Chat with your parents at the dinner table, spend some time with your older sister, hang out with your younger brother, and make sure they know that you love them. The bond with your family is one of the most important ones you have.
Not all teens live in the best family situations. If your family is abusive or dysfunctional, it may not be the best choice to try and be close with family members who do harmful things. In severe cases, know when to report child abuse.
Hang out with your friends. You don't need to spend your whole high school life alone, especially during times when you're not even in school. If you don't have friends, then try looking online for meetup groups or events that you can attend that would target people in your age group. There's no need to be alone if you don't want to be alone.
It's okay if the only friends you have are online. You can still spend time with them – whether it's by emailing, using social media, instant messaging, or talking with them over voice calls or video chats.
Consider volunteering. Many people describe volunteering as a wonderful experience that changes you as a person. While it might not drastically change your life, volunteering can give you a new perspective on things – and failing that, it gives you community service hours and something to do that makes you feel better about helping others. Search online for volunteer opportunities, or ask your school if they know of any opportunities for you.
Volunteering doesn't have to happen outside of the home. There are many organizations that allow you to volunteer online.
Look for jobs or internships, if you're interested. Not all teens can or choose to work, but some teens decide to gain work experience, and maybe earn some money. Try looking through your school for job openings or internships, or looking online and seeing what jobs are being offered to teens. Just be aware that working a job or internship is a big responsibility, so you'll need to be prepared for that if you choose to work.
It's completely okay to not want to get a job. Not all teens want to (or can) work, especially considering that they already have school and studying, as well as other things that take up time in their lives.
If your state requires it, make sure that you receive a work permit from your school before trying to get a job, or you may not be able to work.
Try to pick a job that you'd enjoy more than you dislike. If you're not a very social person, then it wouldn't be a good idea to take a job that involves constant interaction with people. As a teen, your options are limited, and nobody is going to enjoy all parts of their job, but unless you absolutely have to, don't take a job just because it's the only job you can find.
Take some leisure time. Despite all the things you're doing, it's important not to overwork yourself and get overwhelmed. Even if you're doing things you enjoy, sometimes it's good to take some time to yourself and allow yourself to really engage in something that makes you happy – whether it's playing video games, drawing, synthesizing music, programming, or anything else. Find a day when you aren't busy and allow yourself to use that free time for yourself. It's always important to have time to recharge and enjoy something.