Most of the time we think about peer pressure as something that exists in middle and high schools. Yet peer pressure doesn’t end when students graduate and is a very real and potentially more influential force with students who are in college. For students who are out on their own for the first time and unused to being responsible for every decision in their lives, peer pressure can be difficult to manage. If you’re looking for ways to get a handle on the peer pressure you’re experiencing in college, here are some pointers to help guide you through.
Not all peer pressure is necessarily bad. If your peers are pressuring you to do better in courses, join activities and have new experiences you may actually be getting something positive out of the experience. Friends and peers can be good influences as well as bad.
Be confident in your own decisions. If you don’t feel right doing something, don’t do it. It may be more simple to say that than to do it, but fighting peer pressure is as easy as that. If people don’t like you because you don’t want to do what they do then they might not be worth having as friends in the first place. Stand up for what you believe and how you feel, even if others don’t like it.
Find a new crowd. If your current crowd is one that pressures you to do things like skip class and go to wild parties and you have no interest in doing those things, then it might be time to find new people to hang out with. Seek out clubs, teams and organizations that are aligned with your interests. You’re bound to find someone there who will share in your values and interests.
Know your own values. Do you dislike something simply because a parent or friend told you it was bad? Try to balance sticking to your guns with being open to new experiences. Sometimes peer pressure can push you to do things you later discover you love and help your life. Of course, it could work in the opposite direction as well. Evaluate your values and beliefs carefully before succumbing to peer pressure.
Remove yourself from situations you find uncomfortable. One way to battle peer pressure is by simply leaving a situation that makes you uncomfortable. If others want to drink heavily and you do not, leave them to do so and pursue your own activities at home.
Be the good influence. Peer pressure can work both ways. Others can influence you but you can also influence them. As others pressure you to do things you don’t think are right you can pressure them to do better, work harder and stay out of trouble as well.
No matter how old you get, peer pressure will always be a part of life. Learning how to deal with it and make decisions independently of what others think is cool or what everyone else is doing is an important part of growing up and becoming your own person. It won’t be easy, but it can be rewarding so try these tips to face peer pressure as a college student head on.