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 a 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. A student can publicly go with others but refuse to change his private beliefs a student can also behave like others because they are attracted with them and a student can be greatly influenced and permanently changed. So the question is “how peer pressure affects a person?”
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 and refuses to change his private beliefs. Her being with the group does not change even a bit of her. If the student has peers who have drinking and smoking habits and very outgoing. The student will let the peers go do their habits and stay behind and focus to academic work. A student can also change her or his lifestyle and adopt the group’s characters and when removed, she or he is back to her or his roots. A student may be part of a group that is playful in class, disturbs the lecturer and even skip lectures, but when that student get in her or his room, he or she takes the books and read what has been learned in class. This student also go and ask to other students who were in class for assistance which makes that student to be on the same track with what is learned in class.
Furthermore, a student can be greatly influenced and permanently changed by peer pressure. 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, and they associate themselves in activities that equip them academically. For instance: a student may be part of a social group that has joined the debate club, which does not end within the institution but go outside to other tertiaries even outside the country. The student being part of this group, her debate and communication skills will improved and even create great opportunities after completing her studies. These offers may vary from being awarded a scholarship to further studies or having a job post specifically created for her or him. This opportunities will make that student to put more effort academically so as to acquire the offer.
When faced with the compromise between the future benefits of academic effort and the present potential social costs, some students choose to reduce effort and performance. A student who can associates herself with a social group that is of bad news to the institution can have her dreams of achieving something academically dead. An example will be 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 taking place, be it weekends or mid-week they attend. The student will find herself confined to do what the other peers are doing in order to fit in. After, the student has joined this group’s habit, she became a drug addict. This creates jeopardy of academic work as she will be thinking of what was happening or what will happen on coming events instead of concentration on her academic work.
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. Both settings suggest peer social concerns affect educational investment and effort. When faced with the balance between the future benefits of academic effort and the present potential social costs, some students choose to reduce effort and performance.