An epidemic that would drive nutritionists crazy has hit Soldotna High School, called the Red Bull Special. A deluxe frozen drink that’s filled with sugar and caffeine, it is a teenager’s dream food. As the bell rings each morning, students hustle to grab a seat, their morning pick-me-up in hand. Teens seem to follow their peers when they make decisions, even ones as simple as what to drink.
When teens make poor decisions, blame is often pointed at their friends. Friends during adolescent years are the most influential people in a teen’s life.
Peer pressure is almost always painted in a bad light, but it also has the power to impact a teenager strongly for good. Teenagers emulate their peers in their quest to find out who they are. Seeking out good friends should be a high priority for youth because it directly impacts their success in life.
Last spring it was time to pick classes for our soon approaching sophomore year.
Discussing scheduling options with my friends, I found myself influenced to register for challenging courses so that I would keep up with the expectation of excellence that my peers had set.
Teenagers are standing at the crossroads between childhood and the life of an adult. Looking to their friends, teens search for insight of which path to tread. They ask, ‘Will those girls like me more if I wear those bedazzled winter boots?’ ‘Is getting better grades as simple as drinking a whipped cream topped Red Bull Special in the morning?’ ‘If I go over and speak to that nerd in my math class, will I be labeled likewise, or will I be seen as a trendsetter?’
The other day I walked out the front door with a tacky yellow shirt on.
My mom assured me that I looked great, but upon arriving at school, my friends quickly informed me otherwise. I noticed that my friends had more influence on what I thought about myself than even my parents did. For most teenagers, their friends’ opinions are of prime importance, influencing everything from what they wear, to where they apply to college.
Often people are lazy and become friends with the first people who will accept them. It is so vital to actively seek out those who are most like the person we want to become. Making a conscious decision to find friends who will help me reach my potential has been one of the best decisions of my life. I know I can trust their advice and follow their examples. Their morals are high, ambitions strong, and they consistently lead me in the right direction.
At this crossroads it’s difficult to know which path to choose. Using the guidance of my friends, I know I’m not making my decisions alone. I can walk bravely into class, empty-handed without my Red Bull, giving strength to my friends in return.
This column is the opinion of Claire Kincaid, a sophomore at Soldotna High School.