“Live and let live” is the motto of nearly every sexually promiscuous, drug abusing, hard partying youth in Nigerian universities, however, it is a shame that such youths have woefully failed to live by that motto. While they detest being judged by others and being pressured to conform to societal standards of good behaviour, they waste no time in condemning, ridiculing and mounting intense pressure on those who choose to live differently, the hypocrisy! Now a days, choosing to remain a virgin until marriage is apparently ludicrous and old fashioned. Virgins are given derogatory nicknames like “Jew”, “Mother Teresa”, “Mary Amaka” and so on. Introverts who would rather stay indoors and read a good book than go out to party are seen as boring and ridiculous individuals who have no idea how to have fun. Male students who neither drink, smoke, abuse drugs nor engage in sexual relationships with multiple females are “weak”, “too soft” or “not real men”. 

 Peer pressure in tertiary institutions has led many youths into making regrettable decisions. For instance, rather than waiting for the right time and the right person, many youths chose to have their first sexual encounter with the first person who showed any sexual interest in them, simply because of peer pressure. While it was a fulfilling experience for some, a good number of such youths felt nothing but regret afterwards. Also, some female youths who engage in sexual intercourse simply because their friends are doing it, wind up pregnant after their very first sexual encounter because unlike their sexually experienced friends, they lack information about safe sex and birth control methods. Rather than being well informed and emotionally ready before having sex for the first time, they simply rush into it because of peer pressure. Similarly, some youths who delve into drug use to please their drug abusing peers quickly lose control and end up using the drugs more frequently than their “more experienced friends”, leading to sad consequences like death due to drug overdose, addiction, depression and mental health issues. Sadly, there are real life examples that support these claims. Furthermore, many students have abandoned their studies and have delved into prostitution and internet fraud in order to make more money to enable them wear designer clothes and accessories like their peers who mocked them for dressing “too simple”. 

Although the negative effects of peer pressure in tertiary institutions are numerous, there are also positive effects. I know of students who were motivated to study harder or become entrepreneurs because of peer pressure. There are also students who became more involved in sports and other productive extracurricular activities because of peer pressure. While it is advisable to not engage in any activity simply because of peer pressure, youths should endeavour to emulate individuals who impact positively on them and shun those who try to pressure them into engaging in unproductive or harmful activities.

This article was written by Grace Onojeta; connect with her on IG here  

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