'Most Likely to Succeed': Take My Title Back

One-third of those who got the honor wish they hadn't, says poll
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2011 7:14 PM CDT
High School 'Most Likely to Succeed' Winners: Take My Title Back
Fort Campbell High School seniors Mark Boroff, 17, left, and Chris Englen, 18, right, sign each others yearbooks on May 7, 2008 in Clarksville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Josh Anderson)

Still bitter about not being voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in high school? Turns out you may have been the lucky one. Almost one-third of those who won the coveted "Most Likely" title later regard the recognition as "a curse," according to a poll by MemoryLane.com. The Wall Street Journal interviews a few such honorees in an attempt to figure out why—and for many, it boils down to pressure. "Being noosed with 'most likely to succeed' is like lugging an albatross to every job interview, new relationship, or writing endeavor," says a 1998 winner of the title.

He admitted the label made him doubt his own abilities during the six years after college when he was unable to find a job as a writer. A 1986 winner realized "success wasn't what I was most interested in" after "floundering" in college, graduating in five years with three majors. But that's not the case with all honorees: A 2005 title holder had "success" tattooed on her back and named her PR company "House of Success." But the "Most Likely to Succeed" burden may be on its way out: A survey shows only 25% of high school senior classes will conduct superlative polls this month. (More high school graduates stories.)

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