Dealing with peer pressure in college


by Mariah Hirsch, Staff Reporter

The transition from high school to college can be overwhelming. Students go in with unrealistic expectations and goals, which can bring anxiety and other stress-related issues.

Peer pressure is the influence from members of one’s peer group. It is the feeling that one must do the same things as other people in one’s social group in order to be liked or respected by them.

“I see peer pressure as doing something someone wouldn’t normally do in order to fit in with their peers around them,” said senior psychology major Morgan DeVorah. “It can result in dangerous situations or be harmful to their health, life and mental stability.”

While at college, it can be challenging to avoid peer pressure. Parents are no longer around and ultimately the individual is responsible for the decisions and choices that are made. Peer pressure can be detrimental to an individual’s mental and physical health, and their relationships with others.


However, peer pressure is not always a negative thing. DeVorah defines positive peer pressure as striving to have positive behavior and giving more motivation to peers.

“At Pi Beta Phi, my sisters encourage me to develop values and standards, and to focus on my academics,” DeVorah said. “It’s encouraging making academic and life goals with my sisters and watching them achieve the goals.”

Peer pressure stems from categorizing figures in life. This can be authority figures, friends, family, professors, etc.

“I don’t think individuals will ever overcome authority because it is so strong in our society,” said junior psychology major Brooke Gowin. The reason people conform to peer pressure is to be accepted to peers.

“Students should try to get help from an adult or someone outside of the situation, realize what is enough for them to handle and if it’s ruining them,” Gowin said.

At Simpson, counseling services provides free individual, group and couples counseling for students. Counseling services can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development and success at Simpson.

“Personally, I had to learn early on about what was important to me. Was it important to continue to do stuff that I didn’t believe in? I’ve also gone to counseling services and talked about these situations,” DeVorah said. “They gave me tips on how to maintain healthier relationships with peers. I would highly recommend counseling services at Simpson.”

To schedule an appointment with counseling services, call (515) 961-1332 or email [email protected]. Hours include Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.