Peers over Pressure

March 2, 2011
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We have all heard about it and most of us have had the unfortunate opportunity to experience it. At some point, we have all also succumbed to it, whether we like to admit it or not. It is a Saturday night and your home logged onto Facebook browsing your friends’ latest pictures. You then begin to read their meticulous “status” updates and all their enthralling “wall posts.” Your phone unexpectedly starts ringing and your friends are considerately calling to remind you how much fun they are having. They then offer you the appealing option to sneak out. Although it is about two hours past your curfew, and you know it is a bad idea, you find yourself locking your bedroom door and climbing out of the nearest window. Does this seem all too familiar? If not then maybe this will ring a bell. It is now 2 a.m. and you are at a party with your friends, who have all had a beer too many. They insist on giving you a beer, telling you not to worry because “one drink will definitely not get you drunk.” Not wanting to stand out, you take the beer and drink it. It’s safe to say that we have all heard the slogan “one beer queer,” am I right? Dreading that infamous title, you reach for the keg and continue to drink. Before you know it you wake up the next morning dehydrated and with no recollection of what happened the night before.

Peer pressure is part of growing up. It is going to incessantly tap your shoulder and there is no way to escape it. Too often teenagers are compelled to follow social trends and to abide by group norms. It is imperative to know and to understand that you DO have a say and that you DO have a choice. Albert Einstein affirmed, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” If Einstein believed it, it must be true! Remember that it is your body and your mind. No one can make you do anything you do not want to do. If you want to smoke a cigarette, hey, go ahead! However, make sure you are doing it because you want to, not because others are doing it. Recent studies made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that by the age of fourteen 20% of them have tried cigarettes, 66% have tried alcohol, 25% have tried illegal drugs, and 25% have been involved in binge drinking (Aurelia). The constant pressure among teenagers to fit in with the crowd has helped increase these statistics.

Although you cannot bring peer pressure to an end, you can certainly end its influence on you. Choose your friends wisely because true peers will not pressure you. Continuously be yourself. Do not let anyone’s decisions determine your actions. Do not let anyone’s opinions alter your mentality. Keep in mind that you are your own person and always make sure that your choices are indeed yours and no one else’s.

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