People cannot live alone in society. They need to belong and be attached or linked to a social group. Basically people need social interactions that suit them known as peers. Peers are people who are part of the same social group. Social group mean a group of two or more people who regularly interact with each other and share similar characteristics and sense of unity. The interaction and sharing of characteristics can have an influence on one’s behavior or attitude called peer pressure and that is when one’s dream of academic achievement is affected. Academic achievement is when one is presented with a certificate for meeting a specific goal for a specified duration in an educational institution. The question is how one’s attitude can be influenced? Is peer pressure a bad or good thing in one’s life? It is therefore the purpose of this essay to discuss peer pressure on academic achievement of a tertiary education student.

Akhtar and Aziz, (2011), defined peer pressure as the influence exerted by peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitude, values, behavior in order to confirm the group norm. It is the feeling that one must do the same things as others people in a social group in order to be liked by them. When children go for tertiary education they leave their families and start to live independently and this is when they make friends whom they are going to spend almost all their tertiary life with. The intensity of peer pressure generally varies with age and maturity. Main reasons behind peer pressure are rising communication gap between parents and children, intense desire to be an acceptable member of a group and a highly vulnerable mind that fails to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. A student can either be positively or negatively influenced by peers.

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A peer student can verbally influence another to behave the way they are behaving. For instance a peer might convince another by saying “why are you wasting your time studying while we do not have tests or exam any time soon? There is a gig at Vibe lets go and enjoy ourselves we still young to be grounded by books.” The student who would have continued with her studies, listens to the peer and start believing that the peers’ lifestyle is good to go for. Sometimes the students may see that the problem of being influenced, but because the student want to be not alone, she needs company.
Peers can also influence a student non-verbally. Here the student can most of the time watch the other peers live a particular kind of lifestyle, the mind get influenced and starts assuming that the peers are leading a better life and there is nothing wrong in doing it as everybody is doing it. An example will be a student who came to the university and join a group of people with drinking and smoking habits. This social group also engage themselves in every activity or event taking place, be it weekends or mid-week they attend. The student will find him/herself confined to do what the other peers are doing in order to fit in. After, the student has joined this group’s habit, he/she became a drug addict. This creates difficulty in academic performance as he/she will be thinking of what was happening or what will happen on coming events instead of concentration on his/ her academic work. This act might also makes him/her get involved in other illegal activities like thieving and shoplifting or any other crime activities because money is needed to suit in in all the behaviors adapted like he/she needs cash to buy the cigarettes and alcohol and also some events needs entrance fee which has to come from him/her . Such situations often lead to criminal records and loss of a bright academic career. When faced with the compromise between the future benefits of academic effort and the present potential social costs, some students choose to reduce effort and performance. A student who can associates herself with a social group that is of bad news to the institution can have her dreams of achieving something academically dead.
Nonetheless, not all peer pressure behaviors are bad, a student can be greatly influenced and permanently changed by peer pressure. In this stage a student can build the future by adapting to the positive peer behaviors and socialize with a group that has positive goal. A student may be part of peers that are a goal-oriented, they know their reasons to be at tertiary, and they associate themselves in activities that equip them academically. They are pressuring one to do better in courses, join activities and have new experiences that might actually be getting something positive out of the experience. An example will be a student who become part of a social group that has joined the debate club, which does not end within the institution but go outside to other tertiaries even outside the country. The student being part of this group, her debate and communication skills will improved and even create great opportunities after completing her studies. These offers may vary from being awarded a scholarship to further studies or having a job post specifically created for her or him. This opportunities will make that student to put more effort academically so as to acquire the offer.

Additionally, peer pressure can partially affect an individual. A student can change his or her lifestyle and adopt the group’s characters and when removed, she or he is back to her or his roots. An example will be a student who is part of a group that is playful in class, disturbs the lecturer and even skip lectures, but when that student get in his or her room, he or she takes the books and read what has been learned in class. This student also go and ask to other students who were in class for assistance which makes that student to be on the same track with what is learned in class.
The ways one can fight peer pressure is to be involved in a group of friends who are focused on their schooling, and even join a club or sports team. Be confident with your own decisions, stand up for what you believe and how you feel even if others don’t like it. If your social group is pressuring you to things you dislike find a new group because you know your own values. You can also change your peers by being a good influencer, peer pressure can work both ways, as the others are busy with their bad behaviors you can act oppositely, do better, work hard and stay out of trouble and they will be influenced to join your behavior as they will see that it is yielding positive results. Lastly, associating the communication gap between the parents and students is the most effective tool against peer pressure. As a student pay visits and seek advice from your parents for they will give you the love and acceptance which is what you want from your peers
Peer pressure is something we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives so one has to be careful when choosing those peers. A student should have peers to socialize with or even refresh. Looking on the discussed scenarios peers can have positive and also negative influence in one’s life so always watch who you associated yourself with so not to regret your choice in the future. Both settings suggest peer social concerns affect educational investment and effort. Some of best ways to reduce or get rid of peer pressure is to teach children at a very young age, to make decisions on their own. When a person can identify the negative implications of getting influenced by his peers, only then will he be able to protect himself/herself. A child should be made to understand that unique qualities a person and know that it is not required to behave like any of his peers. Parents may support new positive friendships and shield their children against negative ones from tender age.

Debate on Peer Pressure (Against). (2016, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/debate-on-peer-pressure-against-essayhttps://aptparenting.com/negative-peer-pressure

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