Challenges faced by a school student when it comes to choosing a career

A rock star. An astronaut. A professional athlete. These are some of the answers that one gets to hear when they ask a child what they want to become when they grow up. When you’re a child, your career aspirations are filled with fantastical expectations stuff dreams are made of. But sooner or later a child realizes that life is a harsh reality and the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows and that they might not become the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Shawn Mendes, or Angelina Jolie. As they grow up there focus shifts to (frankly less glamorous) careers.

One of the biggest milestones in a person’s life is choosing a career. For many people, career selection is a harrowing task while for some it’s a smooth ride. At the tender age of 16 or 17 one doesn’t know what they want to do in life. Our young and impressionable minds are swayed by attractive yet empty promises such as big packages and secure employment. Teenagers see the world as they know, not as how the world is. It is difficult to peep into the reality of every profession at such a young age.

Parents want the best for their children and with these intentions often impose their career choices on their children. At the same time, children should respect their parents for their intentions.

This additional pressure from parents to choose the right career path makes matters worse. Many a time students succumb to this pressure and get stuck doing something that they never wanted to do. In a rush to choose their future, students often blindly follow someone else’s life choices. Thus, entering into what we call a ‘rat race’. When these teens are all grown up and have become mature enough to make informed choices they start second-guessing their former decisions. But by then it’s too late to make things right. What follows is a vicious cycle of hopelessness, dejection, and repentance.

Every school student has to go through these circumstances. They have to overcome their indecisiveness, emotional and intellectual immaturity, and also parental pressure. All children have a personality and diverse interests. The interest does not necessarily lead to a very specific career path but the choice of career should be based on trying to maximize the utilization of the skills and capabilities of the child. The entry of career counselors and psychologists into the scene and the inclusion of various psychometric tests has immensely helped young kids navigate these difficult waters, providing them with the necessary information regarding diverse professional paths. This helps them reach an informed conclusion.

 Parental pressure should not deter a student to not pursue their passions. But at the same time, one should have a structured plan to achieve their goals. In the end, every student must remember that their future is in their hands and they have to live with the outcome of their choices, not their parents, friends, relatives, or anyone else for that matter and if they don’t take control of where they are headed in life then life will take control of them.

Peer Pressure among teenagers.

Who are peers?

People belonging to the same age group, sharing the same social status, friends are referred to as peers.

What is Peer Pressure?

Peer Pressure is the influence exerted by people belonging to the same social group. This pressure has the capacity to change the way a person behaves.

Peer Pressure among teenagers

The teenage phase of life is the most crucial and vulnerable phase. During this period of time, teenagers have the tendency to refrain from following the instructions of their elders and explore everything that they feel like without considering its consequences. Understanding about the influence of peer pressure among teenagers is very important because when a teenager grows, his peers plays an important role in shaping his nature and character, the way he behaves, how his likes, dislikes and preferences are established. The adult life of a person is somewhat shaped on the basis of his teenage phase.

Peer Pressure takes place in two ways. Generally, when discussing about peer pressure, the negative side is highlighted more than the positive side. Although a lot of teenagers goes through negative peer pressure, yet the positive side of the same cannot be denied.

Positive Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure has a lot of negative connotations but it too has a good side. Peer Pressure can also act as a reflecting tool for a person. In such type of peer pressure, peers can convince a person to do good things. Peers can encourage and motivate one another to accomplish their goals and dreams to become a better person in life. For example, encouraging a friend to study hard, score good grades and get a job. Positive peer pressure has the following benefits –

°° Leads to a stable and focussed mindset

°° Gain new experiences

°° Get rid of bad habits

°° Motivation to achieve goals

°° Healthy social life

°° Develop strong personal identity

°° Sound emotional state

Negative Peer Pressure

Negative Peer Pressure is the most common type of peer pressure. Almost everyone of us, knowingly or unknowingly has fallen prey to it. In negative peer pressure, peers convince a person to do something bad. A person might be pressurised to take a wrong or unethical decision. For example, encouraging a peer to bunk class, consume alcohol or get into a fight with someone. If a person succumbs to the negative peer pressure around him, he lands himself into trouble. In the teenage phase of life, an individual desires to get recognition and attention in the society and in thirst of that, he is ready to shun his own identity in order to fit into another group whom he admire. He would imitate the lifestyle, clothing pattern, hairstyle, way of interacting and even changes his likes and preferences. When an individual falls for negative peer pressure, he

°° loses his own identity

°° isolates himself from his near and dear ones

°° Adopt bad habits

°° Divert himself from his aims and goals in life

°° Lack confidence

°° Suffers mental health issues

°° Land himself into dangerous circumstances

How to cope with peer pressure

It is very important for the parents of the teenagers to identify what is going on with their child. The parents should establish a friendly relation with their children so that they approach their parents if they face any dilemma. Also, the parents should make the children differentiate between good and bad, right and wrong from a very early stage.

Even if a teenager falls for negative peer pressure, his elders should offer him a helping hand and stand by him to overcome all his problems. He should be taught self love and should be made aware of his own unique identity.

Peer pressure is not always bad but a person should identify what kind of peer pressure he is influenced by.

How to Deal with Peer Pressure

In the last article we saw that peer pressure has both positive and negative  effects on a teenager. Now, we will look upon the ways to deal with peer pressure.

If you feel pressured by people to do things you’re uncomfortable doing, there are lots of ways to respond. Be prepared to deal with peer pressure by having a response ready.  Dealing with the pressure is important to prevent yourself from becoming an addict. Identify negative and positive pressures from peers and plan to overcome negative peer pressures in different ways. 

Dealing with Peer Pressure

Skills necessary in dealing with Peer Pressure are – 

• Self-awareness about the consequences and the effects of the pressure. You should be aware that you are facing this and respond accordingly.

• In this difficult situation, you should know to cope up with stress and emotions. If everyone is doing it then it is not necessary that you should also follow them. 

• Quick decision-making ability is a must while dealing with peer pressure. You should be prepared to face these kinds of situations.

• If you want to deal with peer pressure, then problem-solving skills are also required. Dealing with peer pressure boosts your problem solving skills which are very important in life.

• You should know to select the correct kind of friends and know to break friendships with wrong kinds of friends who put a lot of pressure on you.

Responding to Peer Pressure in the Moment
  • The most basic way to deal with peer pressure is saying ‘no’ like you mean it. Say no confidently and make eye contact while saying it. This will make the message loud and clear and they will never ask you about the same thing again because they know your answer to it. Be careful not to get baited into doing something by being called “scared.” Stay firm in your own decision.
  • Change the subject or make an excuse to leave the conversation. Avoiding the question might send the message that you’re still interested but don’t want to respond. While coming up with excuses is a great option if you’re feeling shy or intimidated, or if you don’t want to come off as being rude. Make sure that your excuse is believable.
Anticipating Peer Pressure
  • Make your own decisions. Do things that make you happy and make those decisions on your own. While some people might ask you to do something that pushes you outside your comfort zone in a good way, be mindful of any negative consequences that could occur.
  • Plan a response. Whether you haven’t experienced peer pressure yet or you want to respond better for next time, think of a response you can use if you’re ever asked something you don’t want to do.
  • Choose positive friends. When dealing with peer pressure, start by choosing friends who won’t pressure you do things. Your friends should accept you for who you are without wanting to change you. 

In a nutshell: You can resist peer pressure by thinking things through for yourself, and figuring where you stand on the risks of the situation.

What is Peer Pressure?

A friend’s advice helps everyone. But, we should not follow everything a friend tells us. This is peer pressure.

Peers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term “peer pressure” means the influence that peers can have on each other. We all have experienced peer pressure in some way or another. If our classmate has a blue colour bag, then we also want a blue colour bag. Sometimes we are not tempted to play a game but if all our friends play that game, then we have to play it. Peer pressure is more common with teenagers all around the world. Peer pressure is the main reason for the individual to start smoking, drinking or drug abuse. Peer pressure can affect individuals of all ethnicities, genders and ages. Peer pressure has expanded from strictly face-to-face interaction to digital interaction via social media apps and websites like facebook and instagram.

Positive Peer Pressure

Peer pressure could influence a young person to become involved in sports. This involvement could be positive, leading to exposure to healthy lifestyles and role models, and eventually leading the young person to become a positive role model herself/himself. This is an example of how peer pressure affects an individual positively.

Outcomes of Positive Peer Pressure:

  • As people become our role models we respect others as they inspire us to become like them.
  • Working hard is a part of positive peer pressure. We also have the aim to win or perform our best.
  • We participate in sports and join clubs because our peers also participate in these activities.
  • It also helps an individual in making healthy decisions about studies, personal life and health.
  • Achieving good grades due to hard work is an outcome of this positive peer pressure.
  • We volunteer in the community more often and help other people. This makes us feel good.
  • We also learn leadership skills by taking part in competitions and programs conducted in schools.

Negative Peer Pressure

The most common form of negative peer pressure among school children is to act and behave as per the directions given by a popular person of the group. The children are forced to dress and style in a particular way. Expensive clothes, gadgets and international vacations are demanded by the children of their parents. If the demands are not fulfilled then the child is ridiculed in the group. This stress affects the child’s school performance and social interaction. She/he becomes mentally unstable and weak. The other kind of negative peer pressure is starting up bad habits like smoking, drinking and drug abuse. This kind of peer pressure is also seen among adults and they are forced into these habits by their friends & boss. 

Consequences of Negative Peer Pressure:

  • Losing sight of one’s goals because of no concentration towards the goals of an individual.
  • Spending money lavishly on useless things and addictive things such as alcohol or drugs.
  • Getting addicted to alcohol or drugs due to the pressure by friends to look ‘cool’ in the friend circle.
  • Becoming lazy and inactive and having less enthusiasm towards life. Living an unhealthy lifestyle due to laziness and inactiveness. 
  • Losing personal values. Usually people focus so much to become ‘cool’ that they forget about their values.
  • Becoming depressed and stressed due to our habits. Stress and depression can make anyone lose the spirit of life.
  • We should identify positive and negative peer pressure and deal with it accordingly.