Screw being popular! All the kids who were popular when I was in school are not anymore! Be who you are and ignore anyone who acts like they are better than you. Popular kids in school are often insecure and just pretending they are 'all that'. If you are kind and thoughtful towards others...in the long run you will have much better friends. Popular kids often have 'fair weathered friends', meaning those friends are not around when things get tough. If you want real friends... don't worry about being popular!
Being yourself is always the best way, you don't want to be someone you're not. Even if you don't "fit in" to the popular crowd, does it really matter? As long as you have family and friends that think you are special, and make you feel "popular" in your own skin, is the best there is.
Don't be popular. To be popular you have more drama than you'd ever realize. Yes everyone would know who you are and stuff, but it's not worth it when the rumors start about you. And yes, be yourself show everyone who you are and don't be afraid to stand up for others, especially when they need it most.
We all go through time with different life experiences. In time, you will learn to appreciate who you are and then can effectively evaluate which grade levels are/were your favorite. The Best is when you determine it will be. Life is School, School is LIfe.:)