Choosing the right peer groups for you

Normal, Youth & Careers

The National, Wednesday 03rd April 2013

 LAST Wednesday, a friend sent me a text message in response to the theme discussed then. 

A biologist/environmental scientist, he said students often joined groups in national and secondary schools to receive protection and help in other ways.

I agreed with him, thinking about how vulnerable and unsure many of us were in those days and how insecure we feel when in a new environment.

Students who were not part of any group were often bullied and threatened, if not victimised, by those who were in gangs who think that it is normal to pick on others without any reason. (Sadly, this nonsensical behaviour is practised out of schools as well.)

That is the reality in schools where the cult and gang cultures have taken a stronghold over the years. 

However, schools which were disciplined, and had heads who were discerning and made sure no such culture developed in their institutions, had their students learning without being distracted.

These bad school cultures are found all around the world, where they have become themes or sub-themes of movies.

If you are bullied in anyway, you must report the incident to the school’s administration. 

If you do not feel comfortable with that, talk to a senior who can help talk to teachers and the seniors in the group that is bullying or threatening you. 

Alternatively, talk to the school counsellor or chaplain, if you have one.

If nothing is done, talk to your guardians who should meet with the school’s administration to sort out the problem. 

Hopefully, that should include penalising those who are bullying. 

If you do not feel comfortable still, then get your guardians to ask the school for a transfer. 

Do not let anything distract you from getting the best in your education.

While being careful that you do not join groups that distract you from succeeding as a student, take the opportunity to join groups that will help you grow in other ways.

Being part of a soccer or volleyball team would get you to know and work with others. Apart from keeping you physically fit, team sports teach you how to work as a group.

In life, as in music, teamwork is a valuable asset. Some tasks can be done effectively by individuals, but there are more that require many hands.

If you are the captain of a team, you will learn how to manage people, another prized asset.

Join Christian or Bible study groups/fellowships. 

Good groups help you develop the will to stand up for what you believe – including the will to say “I will not join a cult group”.

Try joining debating or drama clubs. As with good fellowship groups, they teach you to express yourself verbally, a skill many do not fully develop in life.