A note from zee author: Umm... not story format... or poetry for that matter. My essay for second term English. I agree totally with these opinions, and hopefuly a few of you will see the sence in them as well. Needless to say, we don't always act on our prime beliefs... meaning I've had alcohol at unneccesary times- but reguardless- in moderation. I'm 17 and in no way imune to Peer-Pressure (yet):snickt: too bad for me.read, enjoy, tell me your views on this topic.

A whole group of friends ages 18 to 14 are hanging out at a common place of interest. The conversation turns towards plans for Saturday night and a certain persons parents aren't in town. When five out of the seven people mention doing a run, it puts a stopper in the plans. No one in the group is legal drinking age, although it is common knowledge to everyone present that most of them do drink. I'm stuck between wanting to enjoy a night with friends I don't see during the school week, and keeping my personal standards. Not only do I know what I'd be participating in is illegal, but I'd be disappointed in myself if I decided to throw caution to the wind. I want to be part of the fun, I don't want to look like a coward, part of me wants to try it, the rest of me is confused because these are friends, and I can't accept what they do in their spare time. Decisions, decisions. Take the initiative to be a leader among your peers, and do something useful with your Friday nights. What is it about alcohol that people enjoy so much? Why are under aged drinkers growing in number? Why is the weekend plan to get 'smashed' appealing?

Sometimes we want to forget certain aspects of our lives, and other times- inebriated times- we drink for no good reason other than for the sake getting smashed. The appeal of relaxing in a carefree environment, however alcohol induced, is too much temptation for some people. Stress is one of many little hills that make The Holy Mountain of Life; Arduous journey, trial by fire, tedious negotiations with ones own subconscious. But it's part of growing up. And that's the point- it's not supposed to be easy. If growing up were easy, then would we actually ever grow up? Growth leaves an inkling of something greater having been attained, wisdom, or knowledge for example.

So why are today's youths seemingly unable to cope with the ways of the world? Enough of adolescents are turning to ulterior motives in order to enjoy themselves. What ever happened to having a good conversation over a Dr. Pepper? Now people embarrass themselves putting on spectacular displays of inebriation.

So why the sudden need for an artificial high? What does a 'buzz' offer you that a Pixy Stick can't? Alcohol is unnecessary. It is a beverage intended to be enjoyed by people who are responsible enough to limit themselves and enjoy the drink itself. For example, my brother at the legal age of 19 will sit and enjoy his Bacardi concoction, whilst my mother proceeds to nurse a Caesar. I do not wish I could have mothers Caesar, as I think it is gross, and I certainly do not want my siblings Bacardi, as it tastes somewhat akin to nail-polish remover. A good example of drinking: the sensible middle-aged, however tenaciously fashionable, mother, enjoying a drink, for the sake of quenching thirst. She was not pressured into gorging herself on this beverage. The Ladies and Gents at Samuel and Co. did not exhort her into having a Martini she did not want. Mother did not mix her drink while hoping the cute landscape architect working next door would notice and approve. On the other end of the spectrum, the recently legal brother, is where a lot of people fit in. He doesn't appreciate the drink for what it is, and doesn't drink responsibly. To him, the privilege of drinking alcohol, should still be illegal. He abuses the fact he's now legal age to purchase alcohol, because upon becoming legal, it is unfortunate that one does not suddenly become responsible. A birthday can just make it easier for minors to be irresponsible. This way, you can save the five bucks normally spent paying the run-man and proudly walk into the Liquor Store yourself.

Reasons for wanting to follow this trend are numerous, but not all of them obvious. People have been too romanced by the ideals put through media everyday.Perhaps the media, and images of the ideal life- perhaps these messages are telling us that what we have isn't the ideal. The media has confused us into thinking that anything other than what they show us isn't the ideal, and thus leaves something to be desired. The trials of learning to become an adult are now compounded by the test of your own security against pop culture-centered businesses. Businesses that have people working for them to ensure that yes, you do indeed feel lacking. So buy what they tell you, eat what they tell you, act the way your pop culture icons do, and they guarantee your happiness.

We pressure each other into doing things all the time. But at a certain point it becomes unnoticed by the person conceding. One thing no one ever forgets is the need to feel accepted and part of the group. So when choosing between the lesser of the two evils, people normally choose the one that is much less likely to hurt them emotionally, and they concede to something they normally wouldn't. It is a way of protecting ourselves emotionally. Standing out, or being separate from the crowd puts unwanted negative pressure on a person. Even harder still is to stick to your guns, and not give in to the peer pressure The factors that help to make the right decision: Is it worth it? You can spend time with them on another occasion, without the alcohol. You're underage, reason enough. Do you want to risk seeing people you care about in a state of inebriation? For some people, myself included, it's upsetting, and I lose a certain respect for alleged persons. And it's painful to think less of a friend, so avoid the pain by not putting yourself in that position.

The fact remains that not all people are secure enough to say no and still feel they made the right choice after the fact. There is adistinct fear of missing out on life that arises when faced with decisions like this. Does one go out with people you enjoy being around and let loose for the evening? Or does one stay at home and do nothing? The answer is neither. Go out with other people that night. A lot less people partake in underage drinking than one would think by the way we hear our peers talk. But that's all it is, talk. Insecurity makes people feel they have to compensate for something- by stretching the truth, conforming to something, or achieve some list of great feats that proves to themselves they are who they think they are. Insecurity and fear of missing out, or not being remembered in the way we'd like, drives people to do things they normally wouldn't.

In the end, it all comes down to what you are comfortable with. Dangers of being impaired aside, not to mention legal drinking age, it depends on a persons social inhibitions and standards. If you are to make a decision about whether to indulge in alcohol or not, think of the ramifications. Is one night worth running the risk of car accidents, inebriated behavior, puke, alcohol poisoning, and a fine for under-aged drinking? Most importantly, who's respect will you be losing? That of a friend, parent, or ones own self? Physical consequences notwithstanding, do you really want to be a sheep in a crowd, simply going with the flow because it's safest socially? What does that say about your character? Decide which sort of person you want to impress, and make your decision based on two things. How you would like to feel about yourself, and how you would like others to feel about you. Because unlike TV shows and magazines, friends are not designed to make you feel lacking, or obligated to do anything.