Peer pressure

Students should reject social pressures to forge their own path

I had known for some time that I wouldn’t be attending my junior year Prom.

I had made up my mind a month ago. Yet, that next month I was bombarded with the question: Are you going to prom? 

I felt this question follow me every day of the week. I would look at the classroom walls surrounding me and see the imprint of Prom in the foundation of the school. I could hear the trailing buzz of students, like bees high on blissful nectar, arranging ambitious plans. The vapors of excitement wafted off of the large groups chatting away in the Quad. And later, I’d hear the words seep out of my best friend’s mouth. Even old acquaintances from middle school approached me. 

Prom popped out of nowhere like a hidden foe waiting in the dark gray fog like those in old ninja movies from the 80s. Nowhere was safe. And I thought to myself: Am I strong enough to resist it?

My parents told me I’d only be able to experience Prom twice in my life. You would think with the way they said it that prom was something bigger than a party for 17- and 18-year-olds, an event marked by destiny.

Just like spring break, when you’re forced to wake up at 5 a.m. to pack up and go somewhere with an abundance of mosquitoes, so too felt myself being unwillingly pulled into Prom’s gravitational field. 

I was not doing this dance, I repeated to myself. 

Day by day, my friends granted more social power to Prom in exchange for many shallow conversations on statement pieces, jewelry and coats.

“What color is your dress?”

“Will you get your hair done?”

“Are you bringing a second pair of shoes?” 

I felt myself cast in the shadow of Prom’s shiny white smile as upper grade students cared only about choreographing flash-mob prom-posals and finding out who got first place on instagram. 

The pressure veils itself as excitement. So catchy and positive, is the excitement. 

If prom were a cult it would be one of the leading religions in the world.

Prom dresses, which are simply pounds of tulle and more glitter than the environment can sustain, are idolized. The average black tie outfit although classy, becomes basic. And the bigger the heels, the more confidence at the dance floor.

Before I knew it, I was actively buying a ticket online. Zoning out, I punched in the numbers to my card. I grew more ecstatic by the second — I thought my smile was a good sign, but that’s when I realized: I was staring right at Prom’s blinding, glittery face.

If prom were a cult it would be one of the leading religions in the world. 

The choice to be made depends on how much you have been peer pressured and how confident your opinion is to withstand it all. Prom truly overrides personal preference. Maintain your voice, and act on your comforts or discomforts.

You choose prom on your own accord, not the other way around. 

And if you end up going and find yourself enjoying the evening, it was all because of you.