Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Realities of Peer Pressure

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By: Joyce S.
Peer Pressure: “a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one's age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them” -Merriam-Webster
            Everyone’s heard the warnings, seen the educational videos and gotten the lectures about this mysterious myth called ‘peer pressure’, but it can’t really be all that bad, right? Isn’t peer pressure just an urban legend created by overbearing mothers and overprotective fathers? That’s what I believed too, at least, before high school began.
For most of my life I’ve never really been a trouble maker, in fact, I think the last time I was grounded was 1st grade. So when it came peer pressure I was never really concerned, I had a good group of friends who had the same mindset as me and they never pushed me to do anything that made me uncomfortable.  Until recently, this system had worked for me but eventually reality hit and burst the bubble. My friends made new friends, and so did I. We met new people from different schools, environments and practically different worlds. While these new friends brought entirely new personalities and experiences, they also brought different ideas of fun. No parental lecture can prepare you for when you find out that your lab partner is drug dealer, or that your friend’s friend got blackout drunk at the football game. The innocent kids I once knew had grown up but not in a good way.
One of the most difficult things for me to realize was that I couldn’t control my friends’ actions, and that I couldn’t just wag my finger, stomp my foot and lecture them about why they were wrong. The only thing I could control was how I reacted. Whether it was explaining my concerns or just distancing myself from those friends. I usually could handle these situations one at time. But unfortunately, in the real world (or as real as high school can pretend to be), you can’t always deal with your problems one at time. Sometimes, you’ll be stuck in room full of people with completely different morals than your own and only you can decide which morals are too important to give up.
Being surrounded by people who continually insist that your core values are just plain wrong is honestly one of the most difficult situations to be in. It can be uncomfortable, awkward and even scary. But, these emotions are a mix of your conscience and your instincts telling you that something is very wrong. Don’t underestimate the monster that is peer pressure but don’t allow it to intimidate you either. Trust yourself before anyone else and give yourself the power to know what’s truly best for you. As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything."

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