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. By social group we 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. The question is how one’s attitude can be influenced? Is peer pressure a bad or good thing in one’s life? This essay tends to undress peer pressure on academic achievement of 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. 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 type of friends or social group one has can have different effects even with same shared qualities. Peer influence can have an impact on a student performance. Activities related to peer or social groups’ interactions can have dramatic consequences affecting the student’s social and academic life.
Firstly, one can publicly go with others but refuse to change his private beliefs at this stage little peer pressure can affect. A student may join a group of peers not because she wants to adapt their behaviors but because she want to be not alone, she needs company. Her being with the group does not change even a bit of her, if the student grown knowing that before going to bed she has to study and do her assignments not go to the night clubs. She will do so no matter what the social group do she stick to her norms. Therefore, here academic work is not disturbed, she meet her due date and to go tests ready as she did not forget how she raised and how she reached tertiary. Likewise with a student who is out going, who does not want to be missed by any event that is happening? She leaves the group and go alone even if her other peers are busy with school work, she leaves them. This result, to the student obtaining bad results. This type of people are the ones that were raised to know the use of the “No “statement in a conversation and they now their stand and goals.
Secondly, one will behave like others because they are attracted with them. They change their style and adopt the group’s characters and when they have been removed, they are back to their origins. In this stage, the student changes her behavior and norms from home in order to fit in her peers. A girl student may be accepted to tertiary not wearing trousers. Upon interaction with her peers, she finds herself the only one with such culture, so she decided to buy herself trousers, so that she fits with her peers. When she has to go visit her family she puts on a skirt or dress. This change helps the student to feel not discriminated by her peers because of something she can change.
On the other hand, the change of the student dress code will have a negative influence on performance thus affecting the academic achievement as the student will need money change her wardrobe, this can lead to the student finding other ways of making money because she knows her parents does not accept trousers on females and they are not going to give her the money to buy some. So this girl will either engage herself in love affairs which may see her skipping lectures because she want to go and see her boyfriend who promised her money which she will use to buy the clothes. Thus resulting to poor performance academically because now she is a part-time class attender. But when she go back home she is back to her skirts and become the decent girl her parents raised. In this stage the student is doing all this just to fit in her social group though she is not in to pants or trousers.
Lastly, one can be greatly influenced and permanently changed. This is a critical stage where one can build or destroy his or her future because of peer pressure. In this stage a student can build her 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 in a manner that they associate themselves in activities that equip them academically. A student may be part of a social group that has joined the debate club, which does not end within the institution but even go outside to other tertiaries even outside the country. By the student being part of this group, her skills will improved thus resulting to the improvement in academic results.
Moreover a student can also associate herself with a social group that is of bad news to the institution which may destroy her future thus not achieving anything academically. An example will 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 that are happening around the country, which are happening almost every weekends sometimes mid-week. The student will find herself confined to do what the other peers are doing in order to fit in. After, this students has joined this group’s habit, she became a drug addict. This was the end of her academic career as her schedule was now too tight and her priority was to go out instead of learning. When exams come she finds herself knowing nothing on the exam paper. Her career fades and she failed the level and her parents couldn’t afford to pay her tuition fees the following year because the government scholarship is not granted to someone who is repeating.
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.