March 24, 2010

Peer Pressure


Peer pressure. some people would say that peer pressure is good for development while some other says the opposite.

According to MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, International Student Edition ; peer pressure means the influence that other people of your own age or social class have on the way you behave or dress.

Some would say that it is a good thing because it puts you to strive forward just as other peole did. When we see other our peers busy revising, we feel the urge to do the same thing because we don't want to be left out or out of the same standard. Why? Because practice makes perfect. If our peer is doing the same thing day by day, he/she might master that particular act or whatever he/she is doing. That is, if they get it right.

Then, another situation is in workplace. We only hold a quite insignificant position in the company, according to our view. Our peer, maybe of the same qualification, or age, or background, is holding a better position than we do. How do react to that? Well, generally we start to double our effort to either get promoted or maybe even just a raise, because that's what usually is the standard or particulars that we compare with our peers.

If it is in schools, grades, test mark, assignments; these all are the major criterias we compare. In some other cases, it's efficiency, and skills in problem solving. As our peers start to stand out, we start to try and figure out how to do the same.

Now let us see the downside of peer pressure.

Seeing our peers work very hard, we start to feel inferior. And to counter that feeling, we try to imitate the amount of work our peer is putting on. Sometimes, we even do more than they did. If this continues to happen without any rational judgment, it might be bad to us. Different people have different work capabilities.
No one knows your work capacity but yourself. Your body, your decision. How can a peer know your body? Only you know it well.

We also start to behave differently than we usually did. We are even willing to push ourselves too much. Lets take a situation. Person J loves to browse the internet freely before going to bed. One night, J felt like checking out its housemates before going to bed. J went to K's room who happen to be watching a tv series K downloaded earlier that day. They talked for a while before J says goodnight and leaves the room. Then J goes to L's room and quite shocked with what it sees. L is actually doing its assignment, which is due in 6 months time!

L has started painting something abstract, with just a few colors on the canvas. L just started earlier that day, so the painting still looks meaningless. But, J felt that L's effort is so great, it should start painting too. J went back to its room, and started brainstorming on what it should paint. J felt sleepy already as it has passed its bedtime. But because of the peer pressure resulting from L's action, J continues to brainstorm to make sure he will not be left out.

As we have read, J feels inferior to L and wants to overcome that feeling by doing the same thing as L did; painting in the middle of the night, although it is past J's bedtime. If J continues to behave like this, J might get sick. Worst case scenario, J might get used to this kind of pressure and depend too much on it.

What do i mean by that? J might grow up to be one who only works when there is peer pressure. What happens if there is no peer pressure at all? Will J do nothing? This might make J to depend on others to think for it. i mean, if there is no peer pressure, will J continue to revise, practice, or work diligently to achieve its goals in life?

Tell me your stand in this issue.


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