Amongst today's young people, I've found, it's seen as cool to not care. About lots of things, really. It's casual and chill, and you should just go with the flow. This does of course have implications for school. I think there are two components that conspire to make studious kids who get high grades unpopular: (a) the social suicide of caring about learning, of enjoying school (b) The uncoolness of working for something.
Now, I wasn't actually that girl for most of my life - I got good grades without trying, so I only fulfilled one criterion. To bring up a stupid primary school example, I almost always got 20/20 on the weekly spelling tests without ever looking over the words we'd been told to learn. Tellingly, the only ones I got wrong were homonyms. That kind of gave the game away. In Junior Cert, I started studying two weeks before the exams and got a decent 8 As.
I am saying all this for a reason, and it's to illustrate that I was still unpopular back then, getting the nerd moniker etc., so I guess jealousy could've been implicated in that, as well as this weird cultural phenomenon we're slowly getting rid of where intelligence is something to make fun of. Burn the heretic!
Now that we're older and grades actually matter, people are much more mature and support people studying. I've noticed, however, that they're a lot more supportive when that person is still getting bad grades, so they're studying hard just to keep afloat. They seem like less of a threat that way, I guess. In 5th Year now, the maturity really shows. Almost all of us study a little, and since we chose our subjects it's okay to care about them. But one kind of studying is still, in my experience, looked down on, and that's the kind you do voluntarily, for fun.
Let me just say that I didn't much enjoy studying for the Junior Cert, because the material was boring. But now I'm motivated to go home and look up extra, background information about say, the electromagnetic spectrum, or organic chemistry. Just loving your subject is still uncool, and it's incredibly frustrating to be sitting in Physics and see almost everyone else in the already select class say that they're just studying for the exams and don't actually love the subject. It's like they want to avoid being nerdy by acting as if these subjects they chose are an obligation, and it's irritating.
Just let yourself be enthusiastic. It's much better, I promise.
By the way, I'm being forced to use a Windows Vista and old IE right now, so Blogger won't actually let me use the Compose tab. So if the formatting is messed up, I apologise for the rustiness of my basic HTML.