Peer Pressure

Do I Fit In?

A Story About Peer Pressure

There goes the alarm again! I guess I should drag myself out of bed, but I really hate getting up for school! I’m always a bit scared about having to start school again after the long summer holidays. Form II! Still four full years until I finish school! I feel so anxious…I know I have no homework to hand in and I am generally keen to see my friends again, but still, I have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Has anything changed? Do all my friends still look the same? Everyone will have the coolest school bags and stationery, that’s for sure. Let’s hope they think my  stuff is cool too.

Part of me says, “Stop worrying about what others think! Just be yourself.” Another part of me says, “Do your best to fit in. Be like everyone else.”

My sister, Sophie, who just began her second year at University, says that it gets less confusing as we get older. She says she felt much freer about expressing herself and following her interests – once she began Sixth Form. Sophie said that University is even easier when it comes to these things. She is very understanding when I share my fears with her, as she remembers very well how difficult it is to fit in and be different – an individual – at the same time.

Sophie assured me that even the coolest group of girls at school experience peer pressure.

Even they are controlled by social ‘rules’. When I am allowed out, some weekends, I see everyone wearing similar clothes and similar hairstyles.

I have to phone my best friend, Ella, every time, to check what she is wearing and what hairstyle to choose. We clone ourselves because we are afraid to stand out and be different…just in case somebody picks on us for it. Yet, deep down I feel that sameness is boring. Being different is fun and daring! Am I brave enough for it, though?

I decide against the half-up / half-down style, Ella, myself and another two friends agreed on, yesterday. If they ask what changed my mind, I’ll say I just didn’t feel like it this morning. It’s true – I don’t feel like being anyone’s clone today! I get into my father’s car, still feeling nervous but a little excited, too.

Things to Think About:

  • Do you ever feel nervous or scared before going to school?
  • If this feeling is familiar to you, when does it happen – Everyday? At the beginning of every term? After the weekend?
  • Do you ever feel like you have an inner conflict between wanting to be the same as everyone else, and wanting to be yourself, at the same time?
  • Do you have somebody you can trust, to talk about your worries or pressures with?
  • Do you agree that too much sameness can be boring; and difference can be exciting?
  • In what ways are you the same as your peers? In what ways are you different?

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