I think this is one reason I was a band geek. At least in band there were more people like me. That's not to say everyone was smart or popular (there were all combinations), but we were a group. We stuck up for each other. We also made fun of each other, but that helped make us closer. It wasn't like the biting putdowns I received from the "popular" kids. I wasn't Mr. Popularity with the rest of the population, but by the time I was a senior the back seat on the bus for away games was always mine. For our band, that was how we measured rank/influence/whatever. It was nice to be there.
I remember hardly ever having to study. And that bit me real hard when I went to college because I didn't have a good idea of how to study. So my coasting I called High School was really a detriment when I graduated. I didn't feel challenged, with a few exceptions. I remember my World History teacher (Mrs Russo - hi!) who made history fun & interesting. It was much more than just memorizing dates & names & places. It was about learning _history_ rather than learning facts. I give her most of the credit for my current enjoyment of the History Channel.
So for those who have not read the essay, I highly recommend it. And if you're still in HS, just remember that it will be over soon. And it is NOT the real world, so don't confuse it for the real thing. Keep on plugging and you'll come out ahead.