March 26, 2018

Choosing the right crowd in college

By Nana Zuke

The society we live in is full of different pressures, specifically for teens or young adults who are just starting to taste independence away from the comfortable and familiar walls of their parents’ house.

There are a lot of things to expect at college. There is diversity, which means that as a new student you are likely to interface with different people from different backgrounds who may even have a different goal from yours, that’s a given. There are different groups of individuals at college, some want to get a qualification and succeed, some want to be noticed, some want to be the best dressed and some are just about experiencing what the fuss about college life is.

Pressure is definitely there. The most important trait you need when entering such an environment is self-assuredness and wisdom. Be wary of the fact that not everyone you meet will have your best interest at heart. It is your responsibility to guard yourself when you get to college. As soon as your parents drop you off, you instantly become an adult. You now have to make important decisions on your own and trust your intuition.

Find people who motivate you to be the best you can be, people who value education and are driven by who they see themselves becoming after they graduate. Find individuals you can build lasting relationships with, who can be a strong support structure for you. People who positively challenge your intellect and your capabilities. There is a saying that goes, show me your friends and I will show you your future. Most commonly in college, the company you keep will determine whether or not you will graduate and get that qualification you sought after. 

At college level, there is so much pressure to fit in, to associate yourself with the right crowd, to be cool and just to have friends in general. There are a lot of habits students get into at tertiary level. Some are fascinated by their newly found freedom and want to do all the things that they were forbidden to do whilst back at home. However, the consequences of these can be quite serious. It’s unfortunate that drugs, teen pregnancy and carelessness are some of the factors that contribute to the college dropout rate in our country.

It then becomes pivotal for students to surround themselves with people who have a positive influence on them. People whose goals are in alignment with that of their own and people who push them to be the best they can be. Not everyone who registers finishes with that degree in hand.

According to an article published on News24, research done by the Council for Higher Education (CHE) states that 41% of those who entered institutions dropped out. With youth between the ages of 18-24 who register to enrol, less than half actually graduate.

Research done by the University of the Western Cape has shown that peer pressure, leisure boredom and substance use pose a threat to the social, psychological and physical wellbeing of adolescents in general.

It is very important to exercise responsibility and caution at college. Have fun and enjoy your varsity or college life, but be responsible for every action, as there is often a consequence. 

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