Sunday, August 3, 2014

College Survival Series: Peer Pressure

If you missed it in my previous post, I announced that I'm relaunching the College Survival Series for the month of August! Each Sunday evening I will be posting a College Survival post for all of you soon-to-be and current college students, just in time to gear up for move-in at the end of the month. Make sure you check back every week for a new topic! Now without further adieu, I give you the return of...

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Peer Pressure

Like high school, peer pressure is a rampant issue in the college environment. It's something that every college student will have to deal with in one scenario or another, and it's important that you know what you do and do not feel comfortable with when you're placed in a situation involving peer pressure. Here are a few tips of how you can prepare for and navigate those sticky situations:

1. Know your values. Though college is a time where you really start to solidify your sense of self, you still have a solid idea of what is important to you before you even open your acceptance letter. You're going to find yourself in new situations that will test what you believe in and you may question what you feel is the best decision. Make sure you know where you stand on things such as drinking, recreational drug use, and sex, as those are some of the most common issues involving peer pressure that students will face.

2. Don't be afraid to share your views and opinions (in a respectful manner). If your beliefs on sex, the use of alcohol, drugs, or other topics are different than those of your college crew, don't be afraid to share that with them. Chances are they'll be totally cool with it. If they aren't and continue to badger you into doing something that you don't want to, they aren't being very good friends to you anyway, and you may need to ditch them until they can respect your choices.

On the flip side, make sure you're also respectful of them and their decisions. If you wind up making friends with a group that enjoys drinking and you choose to live sober, there's no reason for you to make them feel less-than.* You wouldn't appreciate them scolding you or making fun of you for not drinking, would you?

3. Make a plan. What are you going to do when you're put into these uncomfortable situations? If you're at a party and a group of your new college besties are doing something that you are absolutely not cool with, how are you going to react? What is the best way that you can make sure you stay true to yourself? These are all things that you should consider before you step onto campus. The most important thing is making sure that you are comfortable and knowing what is going to make your college experience as comfortable as possible.


Peer pressure can always be a sticky situation, especially for first-years who may be wanting to fit in. It all really boils down to knowing what you are and aren't comfortable with and staying true to yourself. As long as you can do that, you should be fine navigating these situations!

Have additional tips or experiences involving peer pressure?
Share them in the comments!

*If you are really concerned about a friend's drinking/drug use (i.e. you feel it may be negatively affecting their life and the lives of the people around them) and you aren't sure what to do, talk to a counselor on your campus about how you can talk to them (without giving their identity away). College students can develop addictions, and if you are truly concerned, make sure you express your feelings with that individual in a private and respectful way that is safe for the individual in question.

1 comment:

  1. Peer pressure is an issue that people encounter almost everywhere. While it can be quite difficult to deal with, keeping an open mind can be helpful. People have different outlook, opinions, and ways of life; and being open-minded helps you understand the diversity and respect other people's style and taste. The important thing is to not give in to it and waver from your values, just to appease a certain group of people. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Valerie Casey @ College Funding Freedom