Column: Others don’t act for you

By Madison Roberts

All through middle school, parents and teachers alike told me about the hardships of high school and how difficult it would be for me to resist peer pressure and “just say no.” I know you all know what I’m talking about. Those infamous talks with parents about how most people you know will do drugs and the hardest thing you’ll ever do is resist them. As a matter of fact, I was told that if I didn’t smoke weed people would think I wasn’t cool.
Now, as a senior in high school, I can proudly say that I have never once experimented with drugs. I’m proud to say that I have “said no.” The thing is, it really wasn’t that hard.
Maybe I’m hanging out with the right people, or maybe I just somehow have incredibly strong willpower, but I have never felt left out or bullied simply because I don’t do drugs. Yes, I have been offered these illegal substances, but after my easy reply of “no thanks,” my peers simply move on and continue what they were doing.
No one has ever said they wouldn’t be my friend, that they don’t want to hang out with me, or made fun of me because I don’t do drugs. No one has ever even been bothered by the fact that I don’t.
Most people have this misconception about peer pressure. It may be the reason behind a few students doing drugs or partying too hard, but not everyone, not even most students. Going into high school, I had this huge fear that people would be forcing alcohol down my throat and drugs into my body and I would basically be harassed until I gave in. That’s not the case at all; it’s not even close.
And even though I interviewed a student for my story in this issue who told me that he only tried drugs because of peer pressure, I still believe that teenagers control their own decisions. If people want to do drugs and drink alcohol, they are doing it out of their own desires. Not because their friends are, and not because they are scared that if they don’t smoke weed they will be called a loser. They are doing it because they want to. Hey, here’s an idea: maybe they’re just curious. Or maybe they just want to find an escape for their problems, I don’t know; but I don’t think that all of these kids are doing drugs because their friends are telling them to do so.
I’m not going to sit here and preach about the bad effects of illegal drugs. Yes, we all know they can hurt you; we all went through some education about drugs and alcohol at some point in time. Truthfully, I don’t care if people do drugs. It’s their body, it’s their decision. But just like I don’t care if people do, people don’t care if I don’t.
My main point is that adults need to chill out, and teenagers need to realize that it’s not that hard to say no. Students come in to high school thinking that people are going to try to sell them drugs in the bathroom, or force them to down a bottle of liquor. No. If a teenager wants to try something, they are going to try it, regardless of the people they hang out with or peer pressure.

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