Freshman First 40 — Day 14

Day 14
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2011

Prov 13:20

Peer pressure. It’s the domain of 13-year-olds in an insecure world of zits, braces and awkward body growth. A thing of the past, because now we’ve moved on to freedom, the domain of 18-year-olds in an independent world of choices, self-determination, and…oh wait! What are my friends doing tonight? Where is everyone going? What will the (guys/girls or fill in the blank) think if I wear this outfit? So many decisions; what if I mess up? What will my friends think? My friends.

I don’t have to tell you that this move from “home, high school, and life-long friends” to “Nashville, Belmont, and all-new friends” is likely the biggest change you’ve ever experienced in your life. You have endured and survived those years of feeling like you were completely controlled by the tension between pleasing your parents and being popular (and usually, those two concepts were mutually exclusive, right?) Now, at last, you are on your own. There is no one to tell you what to do. You are your own person. There is only one thing wrong with this picture.

You may have figured out by now that this old professor is telling you that peer pressure is still alive and well in college—just as it was in middle school. For the record, this old professor is long past college, and I’m telling you that peer pressure STILL raises its strong arm of influence. Age does not put an end to our desire to fit in and to be accepted. That being said, the power of peer pressure is not an inevitable or irresistible force. It is actually another of those new choices that you have the power to make. In the Book of Proverbs, we find this classic advice: “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” (Proverb 13:20) Pick your new friends carefully. Like it or not, they will influence the next several years of your life. Consciously choose today to make that influence a more positive influence.

DR. RICH TINER
College of Arts & Sciences

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