Peer pressure can be positive

Sidney Ching, Staff Writer

What do you think of when you hear “peer pressure”? Drugs? Alcohol? Hazing? Peer pressure often gets a bad rap, and sometimes, for good reason.
However, I believe that there is another side to the influence we exercise on our peers. Peer pressure and influence can be beneficial to a class or school, because we can encourage others to strive to become successful.
Collectively, we definitely define what kind of peer pressure we reflect on ourselves and others. If a large majority of a population promotes bullying and hazing, then, theoretically, the rest of the population will follow suit and believe that behavior to be normal or even appealing. But what if this negative peer pressure could be turned around?
Imagine if a large majority of a population promoted success. If athletes excelled in their sports, others would be inspired to try as hard as them. In academics, if enough students were driven, more and more students would feel the need to “catch up” to their peers, and in turn would rush to take more Honors and AP classes.
Though it is a race to get into a good college or university, this constructive competition is beneficial for the growth of students. We may push ourselves to put in more community service hours; we may study harder to maintain good grades. If we see another group of people pushing themselves, then we’ll feel inclined to push ourselves just as hard.
Nothing is ever one-sided. It’s important to recognize that positive peer pressure exists. The next step is to realize that we have the choice of which type of influence we want to have on each other. If our student body was driven by positive peer pressure, then we could cohesively inspire each other to become determined, motivated, and successful individuals.