“You Are the Next Contestant”

May 4, 2008
“Come on down! You are the next contestant on the Price is Right!” This is the moment of a lifetime. There is much to think about: the prizes, the money, the pressure, the cameras, the pressure, the beauties, the pressure. This show, along with many other game shows, includes the audience’s help. The question is, which obnoxious blood-curdling answer being shouted will the contestant choose? One does not want to go home empty handed. That would mean time wasted in making that “I love Bob Barker” T-shirt. It seems impossible to make decisions alone. There is also no way to avoid the noise that exists in other places. Welcome to the world of high school. The game begins.

Contestants run down the ramp to the blinding stage in a fit of complete joy. The crowd resembles the animal kingdom as the fellow contestants bounce up and down in their places. The beauties bring out the first item, a crystal encrusted watch. The first obstacle. The audience once again turns into a jungle full of screeching and squawking. The fate of future happiness rests on the price of this dazzling watch. Should the contestant go with an exact number or play it safe by choosing one dollar? Freshmen experience this same feeling of peer pressure in the dog-eat-dog world of high school. The school gleams with the glow of florescent lights and burns with the smell of cleaning solution. Hallways are packed with potential friends or enemies, eyes aglow with the power to influence fellow classmates. The decision to choose a study hall over an art class was a no-brainer, but some questions are not so easily answered. Should a student choose to be a teacher’s pet and get excellent grades, or slack off in the back of the room and make new and popular friends? The answer is not clear and the noise does not subside. Welcome to freshman year.

The actual retail price is $475! The contestant makes it to the pricing game! The excitement overcomes him as he makes a complete fool of himself by hopping around on stage, punching the air, and practically tackling Bob Barker. The beauties reveal “a new car!” A shiny, candy apple red sports car appears on the turntable. It is a wonder that the crowd still has a voice left to yell. It seems as though they want that brand new car more than the contestant. Numbers, decisions, and noise all increase. Sometime during sophomore year, a student is graced with a car of his very own. This is a new adventure that adds new freedoms. Some of these new adventures are not necessarily the best. Freedoms come with boundaries, but boundaries can be overlooked. This includes curfew. What is twenty minutes past one’s curfew going to hurt? Should one obey the speed limit, or go as fast as the used 1995 Civic Mommy and Daddy bought can go? The audience of one’s life is always in the back of a reluctant mind. The noise continues to grow louder.

The fashionable sports car is already won, the game intensifies, and the contestant reaches the showcase showdown. The audience’s energy is now strong enough to blow the roof off the television studio. It is not just a car this time. A trip to Cancun and a brand new speed boat are at stake. Now is the time for the contestant to make the biggest choice of the game and their entire life. Will the contestant choose to listen to his gut feeling or give in to the pressure of the rambunctious audience? Juniors in high school also have huge decisions to make. Junior year is the most important year of one’s high school career. These are the grades that count for college and students have finally become upperclassmen. More importantly, people look up to the juniors. Friends can either harm or hurt a student in this way. The choice is go to the party with the “cool crowd” or study for the impossible chemistry test. It is either getting into trouble or balancing equations. Both sound equally exciting, right? Those choices affect a student for the rest of his or her life. The noise is now harder than ever to escape.

There is no trip to the beaches of Cancun or a brand new speed boat for the contestant. The audience was wrong. The price was not right. Failure and disappointment overtake the contestant as he hangs his head in shame and chokes back tears. The choice was his. Unfortunately, he made the wrong one. But what if the contestant’s price was right? What if he had won that relaxing trip to the sunny coast and the fabulous boat? The same thing goes for high school. What happens if a student makes the right decisions his junior year? What if he chooses to stay home and study for the balancing equations test, consequently acing it and sending his grade sky high? The answer is that his senior year will be smooth sailing. Peer Pressure: one can not hide from it, but one can learn to embrace it. Choose wisely.

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