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Avoiding Peer Pressure in College (While Still Having Fun)

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNH chapter.

There is an age-old stigma surrounding having fun in college. Many times it is expected that in order to fit in or have fun as a student, you need to go out, party and consume alcohol or other substances. This can be very limiting and pressuring to incoming freshmen and current students in general who may not feel comfortable engaging in such behaviors.

Going to college is, without a doubt, very nerve-wracking no matter how much one prepares for it. One of the main stressors of college is whether or not you will have any friends. Being alone, away from home and being in a different environment than one you are used to is terrifying and forces us to step out of our comfort zones. This can lead to people doing things they wouldn’t normally do, such as drinking either to fit in with people they want to be friends with or trying various substances in an attempt to have an unattainable amount of fun. 

As someone who was surrounded by pressure from my peers to engage in such risky behaviors ever since the ninth grade, I have built up a solid list of ways to resist such attempts at getting me to do things that I do not want to, while still having a lot of fun with my friends. Don’t get me wrong — I am a people pleaser at heart, but I will always stick to my sober values no matter where I am or who I am around.

College Party Scene

It is very much possible to have fun with your friends and go out to parties without drinking or doing anything else that would classify as “reckless” behavior. Getting dressed up and taking photos with your friends is half the fun, while dancing and meeting a lot of new people is also fun. Both of these things are extremely enjoyable without having to be intoxicated.

It’s Okay to Say “No” 

During my experience of refusing alcohol or other things of the sort, saying no has never proved to result in me being ostracized or excluded from any other events in the future. Saying ‘Oh, no thank you, I’m good!’ or, ‘Thanks but I don’t drink or anything,’ is completely fine and socially acceptable. If anyone makes you feel bad or pressures you even more, then they are not people who you should be surrounding yourself with.

Get Involved! 

Being in college opens up so many new doors and opportunities for students to go out and meet new people. Join clubs, get internships, go to resident hall socials or other campus events. Once you make one friend, more are sure to come as you continue to put yourself out there which might be difficult at first, but totally worth it. 

Emma is a freshman psychology major from Massachusetts :)