Drinking and smoking are some of the things that come to most people’s mind when they think of peer pressure. It is often associated with negative images where one’s individuality is overshadowed by the pressure to conform. However, is peer pressure really all that bad? Or can it be seen as a social tool that enables one to properly function as a part of the society? Here is how our fellow students at Korea University (KU) perceive peer pressure.
Back in high school, I often felt compelled by peer pressure when I was working as the student president. It was a challenge to meet the expectations from my peers and teachers at the same time. However, I believe that the problem-solving skills I acquired back then allowed me to have a positive outlook on peer pressure. Now that I am in college, I face peer pressure when it comes to choosing a career. Although I would like to explore different fields while I am an undergraduate, most of my friends have a specific career in mind. Looking at those who have their future all planned out makes me feel uneasy. On the other hand, I think having different options to choose from can be a privilege in itself. Ultimately, I hope to discover a career that I truly want through these struggles.
Lee Wonyoung (’14, Biotechnology)
Diversity, in general, is what makes the world a vibrant and unique place to live. Nevertheless, sometimes they have to give up their values to just fit in and be normal. Peer pressure was and still is one of the main issues I tend to struggle with. I vividly remember the first week of my junior year in high school in the United States (U.S.). My history teacher talked about Muslims in a condescending way, which made me feel uncomfortable. In my experience of living in a Muslim country for more than a decade, Muslim people were dedicated, friendly, and virtuous. Yet, when I saw my classmates nodding their heads in agreement with the teacher, I wanted to say something, but could not because I was afraid that my classmates would judge me.
Park Tae In (’16, Media and Communications)
Peer pressure is something that I encounter on a daily basis. One example that comes to my mind is when I climbed up Mount Tai during an exchange program in China this summer. I was planning on riding a cable car to the top because I was recovering from an ankle injury. To my surprise, all my friends were determined to go hiking. Afraid of being left alone, I gave in to peer pressure and had to climb up one of the highest mountains in the world. Despite my initial anxiety, however, hiking up Mount Tai was a thrilling experience, as well as a personal accomplishment. Looking back, I realized that peer pressure can end up being a boon, rather than a bane in some cases.
Joo Hyun Young (’15, Economics)
Given that human beings are social creatures, peer pressure undoubtedly influences our lives to a great extent. Personally, I have witnessed many KU students who are stressed out by the excessive drinking culture that is pervasive around the campus. Sabalsik is a good example where such obsession with drinking spoils the true meaning behind this well-intentioned ritual. They say that students are no longer coerced to participate, but this is easier said than done. Many fail to speak up against it, just because the majority simply goes with the flow. We should be aware of the consequences of peer pressure, and seek to channel it in more constructive ways.