This I believe

Emily - Springfield, Virginia
Entered on February 25, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that peer pressure is not always a bad thing. Throughout my 12 years of public schooling, I heard the saying quite a number of times: “say ‘no’ to peer pressure.” My teachers always warned my fellow students and me of the dangers of doing something just because our friends told us to. We learned about 10 different ways to “just say no”: the broken record and the “I’m late” excuse, naming a couple. Even though our teachers were mostly referring to rejecting drugs and alcohol, the term, peer pressure somehow got linked with those items, and ended up having a negative connotation that was hard to shake off. This brings me to my most significant peer pressure experience.

During fall of my freshman year of high school, I decided to try out for the high school basketball team. One of my newly found friends was also trying out, so when we were both cut from the team on the last night of try outs, we were not all that heartbroken. However, my friend decided that she was going to join the track team, since no one could be cut from that team. She also wanted me to run on the team with her. This I was not prepared to do. I was not very fast, or experienced, and I could tell that she was. After a few days of her pressuring me with other friends, though, I finally gave in and joined the team.

By the first few days of practice I could tell that I was going to stay on the team. I enjoyed being on the team, being a runner, and all the changes it brought to my life style. For example, I learned how to manage my time between practices, meets, and homework; I started eating healthier foods to help me get faster; I have made lifelong friends through running, whether they are runners or not; and I also was able to make a smooth transition from high school to college with a better sense of direction, stress reliever, and more outgoing personality. I now have aspirations of running marathons and continuing to run for the rest of my life. None of this would have been possible if I had not been pressured into joining the track team my freshman year of high school.

Through this experience, I learned that peer pressure is not always bad and not always good. We must have the knowledge and wisdom to decide for ourselves when to give in, and when to reject our friends’ requests. For me, it has aided in my growth and maturity.