Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just Some Casual FIFA


            “Let’s go out tonight.”
            “I think I’m actually staying in.”
            “Come on…you have to come.”
            “Maybe next time.  I have some work to do.”
            “That’s pretty lame.  This party’s gonna be crazy”
            “Fine.  I’ll come.”
            Sound familiar?  This is a conversation that takes place in many dorm rooms.  Obviously, some people probably have stronger resistance to a change in plans.  Still, I think it’s safe to say that often times, it’s easier to say yes than no.  No one wants to be lame.  No one wants to be a loser.  We’ve been at school for two months now, but many of us are still trying to impress our new friends.
            Everyone’s heard the phrase.  We’ve been told over and over again to battle it.  Our parents and teachers have drilled us with strategies for overcoming it.  This is not a new phenomenon.  We call it peer pressure.
            Peer pressure comes in many forms—some severe, and others not so much.  It is our job to make educated decisions, weighing the pros and cons of each situation.  The problem is that, more times than not, the costs and benefits of our choices are not so clear.
            Say it’s Tuesday night.  We’ve done our homework and it’s pretty early.  Better yet, we don’t have class until tomorrow afternoon.  I’m looking forward to a relaxing night, but my roommate has another idea.
            “Let’s play FIFA tonight.”
            “Sounds good to me.”
            “But let’s make it interesting.”
            “Oy vey…what are you thinking?”
            “Let’s make it into a drinking game.”
Each time you give up a goal, you have to drink.  Just three guys having a little fun.  Doesn’t sound too bad, but when you’re lackluster at FIFA in the first place, and all of a sudden you’ve had a few drinks, things probably aren’t going to end well.  The effects are cumulative.
            Of course this case was not particularly extreme.  No long-term damage was done, and everyone made it to class the next day.  This is a great example, though, of why college students are at such a higher risk than even those in high school.  I know that when I was living at home, and I tried to go out on a Tuesday night, forget about it.  My parents would never let that happen, and I hated them for it.  I always argued that I made good decisions, so they should trust me.  The truth was that sometimes they knew best.
            In college, you’re on your own.  Mom isn’t going to make you stay in and do your homework—or maybe she will, but that’s a problem for another post.  It’s great to take advantage of this new freedom and try new things.  Everybody makes mistakes, and even stupid decisions can teach valuable lessons.  Just beware; when things go wrong, it’s on you.  Maybe your friends convinced you to go out in the first place.  Perhaps you were just doing the same thing as everyone else.  Nevertheless, it was your choice to make.  So make confident decisions—be proud of the choices you make—because they define not only who you are, but also who you will become.