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The positivity of peer pressure

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In most films, shows or literature that take place in a high school, there is generally a time in which a character will fall victim to the biggest bully in the halls: peer pressure. For the most part peer pressure is seen in a negative context and people tend to associate it with actions such as drugs, bullying, violence and so on. Nonetheless people tend to give into peer pressure because they want to do “trendy” things in order to be accepted by the people around them.

Many people have encountered peer pressure before in situations when a friend may encourage them to skip class or cheat but peer pressure can be used in a positive way as well. By letting their peers influence them to do positive things students can potentially break down inhibitions and find out that they are capable of things they never thought they could have done before.

“When I was afraid to perform in front of my class for a project that involved singing, my friend pushed me to do it and told me I’d be fine [and] it went well. I performed with my partner and we did [great]. It was good for me because I get really nervous [with] public speaking and singing was even scarier,” said junior Gabrielle Frugé.

Most people have seen positive peer pressure in the form of their friends or family members pushing them to finish all their homework or do that thing that they keep putting off. This form of peer pressure can be helpful in encouraging people to accept challenges, stay on track, set goals and be sociable.

“When I was younger I was pressured into joining a baseball team. This helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people … I eventually learned how to [communicate better] with people and how to work in a team. Even though I was hesitant to join the baseball team I’m glad I was pressured into joining because to this day I find it easier to socialize with the people around me,” said freshman Mohamed Abdelhadi.

The same pressure used to manipulate people into doing something that is potentially harmful can be used to persuade them into doing things that will benefit them. Positive effects of peer pressure on teenagers can be seen everywhere including students who are motivated to get good grades because their friends are also getting good grades.

“Personally I’ve had several instances where I’ve gotten frustrated because I had so much schoolwork and all I wanted to do was give up. Thankfully though I had friends that kept me motivated to finish it by reminding me that all my hard work would pay off in the end. If I didn’t surround myself with the group of friends I have now then I wouldn’t have motivation when it comes to school,” said junior Kimberly Argumedo.

With this sort of motivation students can reflect on their own choices and actions by observing those of the people close to them, helping them start their journey to become a stronger person.

“I’ve experienced positive peer pressure when my friend encouraged me to attend club rush day and join more than one club. It was a great experience and overall had a positive influence on me. It encouraged me to be more active in school and even motivated me to run for senior queen. I’m thankful that my friend pushed me to get more involved in the school because that motivated me to do the same with my other friends,” said senior Ariadne Zepeda.

In addition to this positive peer pressure can also lead to students having a stronger presence on their campus. Students can be convinced by their friends to join certain clubs or activities at their school. This not only allows them to meet and connect with new people but they are also given the opportunity to be a part of the community that other students as well as teachers try to foster.

Positive peer pressure has been around just as long as negative peer pressure. Many people have pressured their friends into doing the right thing out of genuine concern. However that is often overlooked as people recognize negative peer pressure more often than positive peer pressure. A combination of media, stereotypes and very real yet damaging experiences have led to many seeing peer pressure as a bad thing. Despite this people are still finding ways to use this powerful influence for good. There’s no doubt that negative peer pressure will continue to exist but there’s no reason its positive counterpart has to continue to be viewed as the weaker presence.

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The positivity of peer pressure