Realizing your Purpose through Self-Confidence
Port Moresby: Be confident and comfortable in who you are today to become the person you know in your heart you were born to be.
These were the inspiring words that resonated from the voices of Year-Eleven students of St Joseph’s International Catholic College during the Chat Room of Wednesday 27th October 2021.
The students took to discussion on the program the issue ‘Overcoming Peer Pressure and Living Healthy’ and stressed the significant impact it had on the integral development of young minds. Their chat brought to light a great many issues on the topic that included: a detailed definition of Peer Pressure and what it meant to Live Healthy; the negative and positive impacts; examples of peer pressure; its detrimental consequences particularly in the age of and exposure to Social Media; healthy ways and habits of overcoming peer pressure; and hard call on governments and parents to start caring for the needs of the younger generation.
In her definition of the topic, Serena Moy, said Peer Pressure referred to the influence of social groups on individuals and warned that this influence affected their lives dramatically. ‘The influence of peers and friends is quite significant and can impact a young person’s life in a negative or positive way. These influences gradually affect their social and emotional development, it will affect how they think, feel and behave, and in most cases into a person they are not,” she explained.
“There needs to be more open dialogue regarding this issue because it is affecting many young people causing them to stray away from their values and morals that were intended to safeguard them to become a better and contributing person to society,” she added.
Nicole Mok, dwelled on the negative effects and said that many young people succumbed to Peer Pressure because of the desire to feel valued and worthy. “Examples of Peer Pressure could be by being induced to chew betelnut and even start the habit of smoking. It happens when a person is coerced or influenced to partake in an act that contradicts a person’s moral values. This is the reality that many teens and youth today are being forced to deal with resulting in many cases of depression, and even death by suicide,” she warned.
She said if a young person's sudden change in attitude was not properly addressed sooner, it could possibly lead to a destructive future for themselves. “Young people’s minds are malleable and Peer Pressure not only affects them physically, but mentally as well, slowly reshaping their values, beliefs and good practices. It could eventually have a harmful and permanent toll on their health,” she stated.
However, Bourice Omondi, said there was such a thing as ‘Positive Peer Pressure’ and advised students and youth to always surround themselves with people who were supportive and possessed positive attributes about themselves. “When we hear about Peer Pressure, most people already associate it with negative effects, but this all depends on who you choose to surround yourselves with. Always try to be around people and create friends who will help grow you as a person. It can be people who are goal oriented and who are confident in themselves, or who share the same hobbies and passion as yourself,” he emphasized.
“Listen to your inner self and pay attention to how you feel. If you know and feel that a situation is not right, give a genuine excuse not to partake and walk away from it because by saying ‘no’ to your peers now, you will be better off in future,” he reaffirmed.
Making a special mention of a quote by Roy Bennet that reads, ‘Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out,’ Tiana Webb, urged young people to be true to themselves as all lives were blessed to be unique by God our Creator. “You have a purpose in life specially designed by God himself, don't change who you are to fit into the standards of society or what is deemed appropriate,” she clarified.
“When we are constantly told and shown what to do, many try to become who they’re not and they end up becoming unhappy and unfulfilled in their lives, and this is especially true when they’re in their older ages.” she further stated.
Aspiring to be a Diplomat, Patronilla Tamari, described how young people were inexperienced and often jumped to such urges stemming from Peer Pressure, and said this because teens and young people’s minds were still young and undeveloped. “They are prone to being influenced because their prefrontal cortex that operates the ‘Rational Thinking’ part of our brain is yet to be fully developed and functional. The choices they make are based on the present circumstance they’re being faced with, and not on the long-term future outcomes or repercussions,” she said.
She made a strong call to the government of the day to make honest and tangible investments that would see the younger future generation thrive in a positive environment. “Parents also have the responsibility to care and teach how young people should think and behave. We need to be encouraged to be the best versions of ourselves and to be reminded that we are not here to live according to someone else's standards, but our very own. If ever in doubt, always consult the word of God for guidance, because the modern values practiced in the world today can become a maze where you could easily lose yourself,” she cautioned.
The students’ Animator, Mr Fabian Papenga, expressed how impressed he was by the students’ display of confidence in speaking concisely on Live-Radio, and said this was an excellent form of exposure in building their public speaking skills.
Students from Marianville Secondary School, will appear on Chat Room’s next session on Wednesday 3rdNovember, to discuss the topic ‘Importance in Human Networking’.