Peer Pressure in College
Peer pressure is not a myth. It’s a real thing that can have serious consequences. Have you ever felt pressured to try alcohol, drugs, or sex? Peer pressure is one of the most powerful forces in human nature, and it affects our lives every single day. This post will explore how peer pressure affects college students and what we can do about it.
With a specific focus on college nightlife, it’s essential to know how to navigate peer pressure situations when it comes to drinking and unprotected sex. With students returning to college this year, it’s important to understand how to overcome these situations with care.
How to Say No to Alcohol
College is a time of transition, and it can be hard to adjust. College students drink alcohol to fit into the campus culture that everyone else around them is already adjusting to. College newbies need to keep up with their peers and maintain an identity outside of this, so they don’t lose themselves entirely or participate in dangerous activities like drinking excessively. To that end, it’s more than acceptable to say no. Here are some ways to do so.
- Be assertive: Be confident in your decision not to drink. When you say “no” with conviction, those around you will be less likely to keep pressuring and shaming you for making that choice.
- The right to say no: Many people are pressured into drinking alcohol when they don’t want to, especially when everyone else is doing it. Remember that you have the right to say no and don’t need a reason for refusing it.
- Speak with someone: Alcohol can be difficult to refuse in college, and if you feel pressured by others or the pressure is getting worse on your own accord, you can talk with someone who cares about what happens. Together, work out a plan of action for how alcohol won’t get such an easy hold over you again. This tip also works well if you feel an overwhelming amount of pressure to succeed in college.
- Different ways of saying no: If you’re a people pleaser, the idea of saying “no” to something can be intimidating. If it feels too hard and unappealing to say no altogether, try using other phrases such as: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’m taking medication,” or “I don’t feel well.” You’ll give people a reason they cannot argue with.
There is a common misconception that alcohol will help you deal with life’s problems, but it could end up being the cause of those very same issues. Alcohol misuse can lead to many severe health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention poor decisions like unprotected sex.
Always Keep Safe
Speaking of unprotected sex, it’s astonishing that 15% of college students say they never use a condom, while another 4% only do it when asked. Yes, there are other birth control methods, such as the pill and an IUD, but these won’t protect you against STIs.
Always remember that when you do have sex, you’re coming into contact with your partner and their previous partners. Thus, it’s important to keep yourself and them safe.
- Use a latex condom: Condoms offer the most protection against STIs and pregnancy. Also, make sure you’re using it correctly. Read the package and follow the instructions.
- HPV vaccine: Get it if you don’t already have it. It will help protect against the human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC): If you have a uterus, talk with a doctor about long-term temporary contraceptives, like an IUD, to help prevent pregnancy.
Both partners must discuss honestly and openly their plans for safe sex. Reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STIs by wearing a condom, getting the HPV Vaccine, and talking with a doctor about safe sex practices.
With COVID-19 winding down, students will be back on college campuses come the fall. Peer pressure in college can often lead to excessive drinking and unprotected sex, so it’s important students learn how to navigate those situations. Learn to say no if you’re uncomfortable drinking, and always practice safe sex.
We hope you found this blog helpful, and we’re happy to be your knowledgeable partner when it comes to sexual health. If you want more information on STI tests or are looking for a clinic in your area that offers them, visit us. One of our expert team members will help guide you through getting tested!