Come on, All the Cool (College) Kids Are Doing It
“Come on– all the cool kids are doing it.” You probably thought you escaped peer pressure when you got your high school diploma and left all the “Queen Bees” at school behind to hold on to their prom queen crowns for eternity while you moved on to bigger and better things in college.
Sure, college isn’t a catty popularity contest like high school can be, but that doesn’t meant that peer pressure doesn’t exist. In fact, in college, there are thousands of kids on campus who are looking for an opportunity to twist your arm. It can be hard not to say “yes” to a party on a Tuesday night (when you’ve got a midterm at 8 a.m. the next day), or to something “experimental” that you’ll look back on and shudder with disdain in the years to come.
If you don’t think peer pressure exists in college, I have one word for you: RUSH. There are collegiates out there who would sell their souls to join a sorority or a fraternity, and they are willing to do some crazy shizz to get through rush. Get into the Greek scene, and you’ve automatically got a clique of a few dozen new friends. That’s reason enough for some students to go a week without changing their clothes or serve lemonade in a giant purple elephant costume (that is, if Will Ferrell’s running the frat). “Hazing” is now illegal at universities across the country, but that doesn’t mean that the peer pressure of rush week isn’t still in full effect. Some say it’s a college coming-of-age ritual. Hey, to each their own, but still: a rose is a rose is a rose.
Not into the Greek life scene? No worries, there’s still going to be plenty of pressure from the kids on your floor, in your building, in your lecture hall, and all over campus. Sure, you can tell yourself you’re going to lock yourself in your room and cram all night for Anthropology, but what happens when your roommate comes in with a fresh box of Franzia and asks if you want to have an impromptu dorm party? Sunset Blush certainly has more appeal than the rituals of the Hmong culture. What about when you’re four paragraphs into a set of boring chapter review questions, and all you can hear is a beer pong tournament down the hall? On any given day on a college campus, there are groups of students partying their faces off. There’s always an opportunity for you, should you choose to accept it.
Then, of course, there’s the experimental stuff. I mean, it’s college. Now’s the time to try new things, right? Especially when the local drug wizard (you know, the kid majoring in Pharmacy so he can craft a breed of marijuana that doesn’t show up in a urine test) stops by with his collection of whippets, prescription meds, or hard stuff. I’ve seen plenty of innocent kids go through a rebellious streak in college (to put it lightly). Even if you swear you’ll never try that stuff, if you’ve already given into a weeknight drunkfest, your decision-making skills have been long tossed out the window.
Within the category of experimental peer pressure is a chapter on sex. For many, college is a haven for sexual liberation. RA’s host sex toy parties, girls make out with girls to snag some free beers at a keg party, and the term “f*ck buddy” is a household phrase.
Sure, you don’t have to worry about having dirty words spray-painted on your locker if you decide not to go with the crowd, but in college, it’s easy to give into peer pressure without realizing that you’re doing it. I’m sure everyone reading this article can think of at least one person whom they’ve seen spiral out of control upon entering college. Yes, the college years should be the best years of our lives; yes, this is the time to let out your inner wild child; yes, you’re free to do what you want to do.
Just don’t lose sight of the consequences, which can include academic probation, expulsion, STD’s or arrests by the campus police, depending on the nature of your deviant doings. Like I said, there’s always something going on on any given day at a college campus… so if you say “no” tonight, you can always let loose another day.