Before I begin expressing my views on this ever controversial topic. I would like to give a shout out to Class of 2016 , Ridgeans for all the support.
Let’s set the ball rolling, shall we?
The topic is Peer Pressure. Yes, a well known word in our environment. Peer pressure is a two-sided influence but society loves to focus on the negative aspect only, which is quite archaic if you ask me.
One school of thought defined peer pressure as the direct influence of an individual’s peers which pushes one to adopt certain values and change certain behaviors. Simple and accurate. Good peer pressure is not focused on and it’s a shame. Because just as bad peer pressure moves people to do unspeakable things, good peer pressure can push you to make great improvement in your life.
For instance, in school, there are days when I feel lazy to learn but because my corner mate is constantly hitting the books (trust science students) my conscience doesn’t allow me a break, my goodness. And before I know it I find myself opening a notebook and I actually learn. That’s how powerful good peer pressure can be.
Another such event was when back in junior high school (I say it like it was years ago, it was only last year.) I couldn’t decide on a club to join. But all my friends were joining Girls Guide and my best friend convinced me to and so I did. I ended up as the president of the club in my final year.
Which I never fail to mention when filling in any forms that ask for leadership positions held. It was purely because of peer pressure I joined Girls Guide, honestly it wasn’t at the top of my list. But it paid off .
Speaking to a 17-year old boy for the male perspective. He mentions the influence of peer pressure positively in the area of character. And I quote
“I never used to carry a handkerchief but the people I started to hang out with always did and so it grew on me, and now I can’t go out without two handkerchiefs in my pocket. This has helped me build good character and a personal brand as such.” He also went on to talk about the effect on his studies which is quite similar to mine. Seeing his friends always studying pushed him to do same.
Now with bad peer pressure, oh my, did he give me a good list.
“Where do I begin.” He said
“Well peer pressure pushed me to get more interactive with the opposite sex cause I’m the shy type.” This I wouldn’t classify as negative because in life you need to build a network to help you in every aspect of your life, your network has to be made of both male and female. Makes it easier to break boundaries.
Moving on, he mentions the influence on his language
“I entered secondary school speaking only English fluently, but when I completed I was also fluent in “pidgin” which is like a language of its own for men, and twi. Because all the people around me were always speaking it, without realizing it grew on me too.”
“Making sure I didn’t pick up on the swearing and the foul language was difficult but it was worth it because when you speak like that in the midst of people you appear uncouth and ill-mannered.”
Many boys find swearing “guy” and cool. But here’s the thing, when it rolls off your tongue so easily it’s quite dangerous and you never know when it might end up in your essay or out to your boss. It’s best to stay away from it.
Dressing was the last area mentioned. Many boys dress in the likeness of their favourite celebrities. Let’s take our minds back a bit. To the arrival of the “New Lords” in the industry. I’m talking about Pappy Kojo and Joey B. My goodness it was an eyesore. About 60% of the male youth were dressed the same way as “those two”. The long sleeve sweatshirt and sweatpants. Oh of course you remember. Yes, trends apparently grow easily on boys too. There was nothing wrong with the dressing for me, but people lost themselves. There was no individuality and personal style. Everyone looked the same.
The bad peer pressure I have experienced as a young girl is with dating.
At a point, in JHS when boys and girls are beginning to discover themselves and their feelings, dating becomes a common trend.
You see those in relationships all over the place and on the internet. You’re likely to feel the pressure to do same. Oh and I did feel the pressure too trust me. But learning without distractions was already challenging, adding more to think about would have been a greater challenge.
This is not to say all those who were dating didn’t do well, but it’s always easier to study with less distractions .
Another area was hair. Dual color braids. That was one interesting trend. You’d see girls with blue and black braids ,red and black braids, some even with brown and purple. I decided not to copy this trend. Why? Well I like to be different. Yes, that was why I did the crimson braids. Just to prove that I have my personal style too. It was a bit wild but, it’s good to try new things too. This is why we resist peer pressure. You need to be you under all circumstances. No one can beat you at being you. When you try to be like other people, you can never be original. Build your own brand. Build your personality from now. Start your own trends. Follow your dreams and don’t let others distract you with theirs. Use peer pressure to build yourself, Not to lose yourself.
Ralph Emerson once said “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”