Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School

The-Source

Dealing with Peer Pressure

Ayelet Handel ('19)

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You walk into the classroom to find that the teacher isn’t there that day, and you also see the pile of worksheets she left for the class to do in her absence. While a few of your classmates are doing the assignment in their seats, most of the girls are sitting on desks and discussing whatever was on their minds at that moment, and that group includes your three best friends. You join your friends in their conversation about the latest episode of their favorite TV show, even though you know it would be better for all of you if you attempted to do the work. You end up having a good time, and the next day you don’t even get in too much trouble because barely anyone else did the work anyway.

Alternatively, you walk into the classroom to find that the teacher isn’t there that day, and you also see the pile of worksheets she left for the class to do in her absence. While a few of your classmates are doing the assignment in their seats, most of the girls are sitting on desks and discussing whatever was on their minds at that moment, and that group includes your three best friends. Although you have been waiting since you got to school to hear about the episode you missed, you decide to get one of the assignment sheets just to see what it is. You are surprised to see that it actually doesn’t look so hard. You begin filling out the sheet, and by the time you have answered the third question one of your friends has come over to ask if you want to join the group. You tell her you are doing the work and that it’s pretty easy. Your friend wasn’t even aware that there was an assignment because barely anyone else was doing it, and especially now that she sees it won’t take too long, she gets a sheet for herself and your other two friends.  As she passes them, she hands them the sheets and then sits down next to you. Before long, the four of you have finished everything. The period hasn’t finished yet and the good conversation continues. You have a good time, and you got stuff done. The next day, you and your friends understand the material pretty well, and you have no extra homework either.

Peer pressure is found everywhere. When you see that phrase, you probably think of something bad. Maybe you imagine a scene with a group of people smoking cigarettes just so that they can be cool, when they would never have done it if it weren’t for external pressure. Maybe you see a gang of kids standing by the side of a bully because they are too scared of standing out if they dared object to teasing someone else. But that’s not all. You would just have to look around you to find examples of this.

Every single human being on this planet has the ability to make an impact. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. At Ma’ayanot, you are surrounded by opportunities to affect the people around you. You spend long hours here every day for five days a week, and it is up to you how you spend every minute of those hours. Just because you and your friends talk during mincha on all the other days doesn’t mean you need to do that again today. If you want to spend some time doing chessed, don’t let anything stop you. If you choose to spend a minute doing something good, somebody might notice. Every action that you take to do what you think is right can make a difference. You, yourself, can make things happen if you want to, and chances are that you’ve got a great group of friends who will be influenced by you. Peer pressure is not just a bad thing we see happen to teenagers on television. Peer pressure is one of the most powerful forces there is, and it means that you can make a positive impact on people. You are in charge of your own actions. Just do the right thing. Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means you have to stand alone, because you’ll realize that you won’t be alone for long.

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Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School
Dealing with Peer Pressure