The Alternative Choice

“Come on, dude. Just one time. You won’t get caught.”
Most high school students experience peer pressure: a highly anxious situation that is often a choice between social status and moral values. The motivation to avoid drugs and alcohol in the perspective of most students is not getting caught, while others feel as though the decision to drink or do drugs would sacrifice their physical health, the respect of their parents, and their public image.
According to junior Lovenia Stanley, she chooses to avoid drugs and alcohol because of her devotion to the sport she loves.
“One time, I was hanging out with a group of friends at a party and they were all getting high and drinking, so I didn’t really feel comfortable being there,” Stanley said. “I was only there to look after some of my friends, and a couple of them came up to me asking me to try some weed or take a drink of a wine cooler. I just didn’t feel right doing it; after all my hard work and effort in sports and everything else, from training to waking up early for workouts, it wasn’t worth throwing it all away for one night.”
Despite what she hears from others, Stanley stays consistent to her beliefs. Not only does she carry out drug-free behavior herself, but she advocates it for others.
“Even though some people say weed isn’t really that bad because it doesn’t have any negative physical affects, it’s still a drug and it still does something to your mind,” Stanley said. “I think kids should always walk a straight line, and so should athletes. I know that one day I could get a scholarship for softball, so that is a huge motivator for staying clean.”
According to junior Asa Maine, recklessness is an unnecessary component to an exciting night; he finds entertainment in simplicity.
“I don’t go to parties or anything; for fun I usually just play piano, play with my dogs, go to the gym, or hang out with the kids in band,” Maine said. “I have lots of options that don’t require illegal substances. It’s simple, but it’s still really fun.
I’m not a super social person, so outside of school I just do my own thing. When I do hang out with friends, it’s usually just to spend our night playing Super Smash Brothers or Rock Band something.”
Maine said he abstains from these substances due to his concern for his physical well-being, allegiance to wrestling, and his aspirations to one day wrestle at Ohio State University.
“Not doing drugs has been a positive influence in my life,” Maine said. “I do well in school and sports because I don’t do them. Drugs are just generally bad for your body. Even beyond that, it keeps me out of trouble. As a student athlete, I want to eventually wrestle at OSU, and any substance abuse would hurt that even if I wasn’t caught because drugs are bad for your body. One of the main reasons I got involved in sports was to keep my body healthy, so I want to maintain that.”
According to junior Chloe Shepherd, being a good role model to young athletes is a significant reason why she abstains from drugs and alcohol.
“I’m a cheerleader and we’re in the public eye a lot, so it is definitely a huge motive to be clean,” Shepherd said. “We get assigned our own MYF groups, which are little youth cheerleaders, and we do so much for the community. Going and helping your youth group is so fun, and you see how much the little girls look up to you; they’ll come up to us and say, ‘I want to be like you when I grow up!’ and it’s so sweet. We’re role models for those girls, and I want to be a good role model and make them proud.”
Shepherd chooses not to drink and be a part of modern pot-culture, but despite her disinclination to try it, she is still confronted with these substances.
“I was at a festival at Christmas in Mason and these boys came up to me and they were smoking something and they were like, ‘Hey, do you want some?’ and it was really scary,” Shepherd said. “The whole event kind of bothered me because that was the first time I was ever really near it. I was like, ‘Oh, my god, are the cops going to come? Am I going to get arrested just because people were near me doing it?’”
To avoid being subjected to uncomfortable situations, Shepherd finds entertainment in safer settings than parties and veering away from negative influences.
“When I want to hang out with my friends we’ll go see a movie or go shopping; safe stuff like that, where it’s fun and you don’t have to be pressured or put in a situation that you’re uncomfortable with,” Shepherd said. “I always remember that I don’t have to be involved with the bad stuff. I don’t need to be at every party or group thing when they happen because I’m happy just sitting at home watching Netflix. I hang out with people who don’t do that and we still have a good time.”
According to Shepherd, everyone is faced with peer pressure in one way or another, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to act on those temptations.
“I feel like everyone has had that pressure at some point in their life,” Shepherd said. “It doesn’t have to be directly in front of you, but everyone has been in a situation where their friends are talking about it. You listen to it, but you just try to put it out of your mind and don’t think about it or act upon it because your friends are doing it. You have to realize that it’s your friends’ decision and it doesn’t have to be your own.”

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