High School is really all about what other people think about you. It's true. It really is. You can either accept the system as it is, or drop out. Everyone is subject to it.
Generally people criticize this aspect of high school, saying this is superficial, that you shouldn't care what others think, that everything's different once you get out. Is it really though? And is it actually beneficial to stop caring what others think about you? Will this make you happier?
Whats other think of you is what defines you (if you're happy with whatever definition you get, well then you're above me). It's what makes you who you are and for most people, outside pleasure is what keeps them alive. It's pretty hard to just make yourself happy. Only caring about yourself can be a lonely place.
An example that comes to mind is a restaurant. If I own and make my living off of restaurant, I have to consider the customer first. "Cooking the food you wanna cook" is often more an ideal than a reality. The restaurant is likewise defined by critics and the gain or loss of a star can equate to thousands of dollars. If I'm the owner I better start caring what other people think if I want to be able to continue the lifestyle I'm living.
Thomas Keller is somewhat perplexing example. Throughout his early years he made sure that he was cooking the food he wanted. When he worked at Rakel, and the executive chef made the decision to make the restaurant more casual, Keller left because it wasn't the food he wanted to cook. Somewhat to the contrary, last year Keller changed Per Se to allow walk-ins and created an a la carte menu-- undoubtedly because of the struggling economy.
I think this moderate stance is best. It's unrealistic to completely not care what others think about you, yet it's detrimental and controlling to see yourself through others' eyes. The task becomes finding a happy medium.