Peer pressure. Those two words are statements on their own. Peer pressure is honestly one of the most common issues amongst our youth. It is the beginning of the tertiary academic year in many institutions around our country and I thought it was only fitting that we actually discuss this issue as well as different ways in which you can avoid and overcome it.
Whether you are “newbie” doing first year or you are now finally doing your third year, nobody is really safe from experiencing peer pressure. Peer pressure is only ever a good thing if it pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to do things that will be positive and beneficial for you.
As important as it is for young people to speak for themselves, adults should play their part at an early age and guide them towards the right path. Differentiating between positive and negative peer pressure is very important so you can learn how to avoid the negative pressure.
First thing’s first, if you are trying to stay away from it, watch the company you keep! People are different out here and as you meet new people, you will realize that there is a lot of recklessness going on and nobody is trying to be reckless alone. So just watch who you call friends and re-evaluate the relationships you might be doubting.
Giving in to the pressure does not mean you will fit in with everyone. If anything, it is a weapon for bullying. Some people grow up differently from others and try to be accepted by society by allowing themselves to get involved with people who do not even have their best interest at heart.
Peer pressure often leads to bad behavior and bullying someone who is trying to fit in is usually the case. The only thing this will do for you is just make you feel like you have thrown away your beliefs only to conform to what other people want. Do not do it. Stay true to who you are, your crowd will come by naturally. Do not force friendships that make you disregard your desires and beliefs.
Drinking and smoking is common amongst tertiary students and sometimes it isn’t even the company you keep that forces you into doing anything. Just because your friends are jumping off a bridge, it does not mean you can’t stand by and watch. If you are not comfortable with doing certain things, do not force yourself. Your real friends will never force you into a situation you are uncomfortable with, so don’t force yourself and just live how you want to live.
If you are a first year looking to make friends, don’t just stick to the people you meet first. Find people you share similar positive interests with. Don’t befriend people who force you to go out when you’re trying to stay home and study. Think ahead, if you do go somewhere and you know there will be alcohol or any other drugs, decide how you will deal with it. If you know you’ll end up giving in to the pressure, don’t even go. Instead find people who would rather go out and watch a movie instead of going out to a party.
Be assertive. When you say, “No” say it and mean it. If that doesn’t help, the only way to deal with that is to just get out of the situation as fast as you can. Choose the people you consider to be friends carefully, keep in mind that real friends won’t force you into anything. Lastly, remember that being alone is okay. Don’t allow yourself to undergo unnecessary pressure just because you don’t want to be lonely. Listen to your instincts and don’t throw away your beliefs for other people.