JustMoll is a keen writer that has her own personal blog over on Blogspot. (Check it out in the link previous) and please welcome her first article.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde.

Throughout school and college I’m sure most of you felt there was always gossip on who was being the most rebellious and it would always make me feel ‘left out’ or ‘uncool’. That was until I realised that it doesn’t matter that I don’t smoke or drink every weekend or have crazy tattoos. Pressure to fit in is an enormous thing to overcome yet it’s apparent in all fields of education and work, including university.

Succumbing to the pressure of your peers can not only be bad for your education (skipping lectures etc) but it can also be potentially dangerous for your health (taking drugs at parties etc). Learning to say no and stand up for yourself can be difficult at first but your future self may thank you for it. For example, if you was to prioritise your education over partying and turn down that house party to revise for an extra couple of hours that night, in the exam hall a few weeks later you may be thanking yourself for it. I have learned from personal experience that being the ‘naughty cool kid’ at school can get you nowhere in life. If you live in a country where education is free then you should feel forever grateful as education is the key to knowledge and knowledge is power.

As it is September, the month of people going back to school/college/uni, many people will be moving to university for freshers. To avoid going all out at freshers and giving into peer pressure, you need to learn to get the balance right. At uni, most people will be in a new city with new people living in a different environment that they’re used to; they grow this ‘you only live once’ attitude. But what they forget is actions have consequences in both good and bad context so pausing and taking a second to think ‘should I really be doing this?’ is vitally important.

Alcohol, drugs and sex are all things that you need to be aware of when at university, everything you do will reflect upon yourself later on in life so if you don’t feel ready to make that decision at that particular time then say no. Finding other people with your interests is a good way to prevent yourself from giving in to peer pressure. For example join a sports society or make friends with the same music taste or book taste etc. You’re at uni to enjoy yourself, be independent and become who you are so embrace it, don’t destroy it to fit in.

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