Society Education

It Was the Best of Times, it Was the Worst of Times


Keeping with the dazed and confused theme, we asked Americans to crack open their metaphorical yearbooks and reminisce about their high school days. It turns out the events of Carrie are not based on a true story for most Americans: 57% had a positive overall experience in high school. While some felt their experience was fine (18%), others had a tough time (24%).


Whether you were captain of the Chess Club or wore pink on Wednesdays, high school cliques were hard to avoid. The aura of the high school quarterback is real, as 70% of Americans believe that jocks were the most popular students. Luckily, high school can provide more than cliques; 65% had a teacher who made a significant impact on their life.


If the previous president is any indication, bullying remains a menace in school cafeterias nationwide. In fact, more Americans believe that bullying is a major problem today (78%) than were victims of bullying when they were in high school (40%). Interestingly, Gen Z-ers are the least likely to agree that bullying is a major problem today.



Let us not forget that we all go to high school to learn things. Not just to be a bully or be bullied. Aligned with Gradient’s unabashedly pro-math stance on life, we are pleasantly surprised to report that a plurality (18%) of Americans list math as their favorite subject. Science (14%), English (14%), and Social Studies (11%) trailed closely behind. Foreign language is the least favorite subject. Could that explain why America’s standing in the world is so low? Or is it because we are a global bully?