Socializing too deeply early on at school is often a disadvantage in later life; the most successful people are those with strong raw talents that learnt to socialise out of school.
The reason for this disadvantage is institutional and would be difficult to decouple from a mainstream education. The social hierarchy at a school promotes the social status of people that (a) are older or part of the educational bureaucracy, (b) demonstrate superficial interest in manufactured culture, (c) belong to mainstream cliques with lowest common denominator values, and most of all (d) are non-disruptive and therefore willing to follow the rules and authorities of the institution. This is as opposed to later life where in a less rigid social structure freethinkers move ahead from others depending on their ability to be (e) disruptive and on their human merit: (f) intellectual and (g) social.
It should be quite clear that, while a school may attempt to educate pupils which it often achieves to a high degree of success, the actual social structure is counter to the abilities eventually self-learned by a freethinker [e, f, g].
When a person that does not feel part of an institution and does not socialise as readily with it, they are not as easily influenced by the institution and: (h) criticise it and (i) differentiate themselves from it — often this means the band geek buries themselves in music and the nerd starts to read science text books in their spare time. While later on they are not handed the opportunities that would have arisen from a high social status at school they are: (j) less impeded by new hierarchies that they join, (k) now promoted based on the merits that they fostered while on the fringes of the educational institution.
On the contrary, the person that felt one with the institution and was celebrated for conforming to the values of its social structure has now learned behaviour that: (l) either brings no benefit to their existence in the new hierarchies or (m) actually counts against them. Worst of all, since they never learnt how to exist apart from a hierarchy (n) they prefer the security of groups over the risk of trying to do things their own way, (o) are likely to lack technical skills, (p) and might still be friends with the people they grew up with in school which would create "stickyness".
As a closing point, of course there are exceptions, for instance: there are those with (q) leadership qualities and (r) high emotional intelligence that were successful at school while also able to control their school experience to their own long-term advantage. There are also many unsuccessful geeks and nerds whom only gain (s) intellectual skills, (t) simply belonged to a much worse-off social clique with the same problems, and most importantly (u) never learn to socialise and take risks.
This article is a response to the New York Times article: “Why Nerds Succeed”.