Dealing with peer pressure as a student

Moving to university or getting to know people at university can be a major challenge for some, where you can find yourself out of depths. You are in a new environment, usually a brand-new city, trying to make new friends, figure out where everything is and get started out on your course. Often because of this stress people can feel more susceptible and pressured to do stuff they don’t feel comfortable doing, just so they can try to fit in. Some people are more liable to being peer pressured into taking drugs, having sex, going out more than you want (or can afford), even simple things like eating out more than you can afford or keeping up with the latest fashion trends.

Here are a few things to be aware of if people are trying to push you into things you aren’t comfortable with

1. Respect other people

A major thing when building friendships is having respect for each other. By having respect for other people and their decisions they are much more likely to respect you, your opinions and decisions, meaning that people will be less likely to force you into things you don’t want to do. Keep in mind it is also not your place to pressure others. Put yourself in their shoes and if you wouldn’t want to be pressured into something, don’t then go and try to pressure them.

2. Stick to your morals

Don’t forget your roots and what you believe in. Amongst all the stress of being at university it can be easy to try to please people and change who you are just for them, whether this be a person you’re in a relationship with or a group of people you want to become friends with. But at the end of the day if they aren’t willing to be friends with you because you won’t do something they want you to then are they worth being in your life? Don’t change what you believe in for people who aren’t worth your time, or anyone at all.

3. Just say no

Being someone who doesn’t like to disappoint, this is probably the hardest yet simplest thing I’ve had to learn. At first it is hard to say no to your friends but eventually it becomes very easy. Making excuses all the time won’t get you anywhere and you are much more likely to end up in the exact same situations you don’t want to be in. Saying no from the beginning and sticking to your own personal morals will get across the message to your friends what you do and don’t want to do.

The lesson to take away is that, whilst you can listen to persuasion, do not be afraid to say no when people are pressuring you to do something you are not comfortable with. Every decision should be your own decision.


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