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HIGH LIFE : Do You Keep Your Cool in the Peer Pressure Cooker?

March 09, 1990

The right clothes, the right car, the right college, the right friends.

You've gotta have 'em, right?

We all want to fit in, be accepted and be part of the "in" crowd . . . but at what expense?

Hot Topics wonders, "What do you feel peer pressure to do or not to do, and how do you handle it?

"I feel peer pressure to dress like other people and to ignore people who don't dress like that. But for something I feel strongly about, I won't do it. You have to live with yourself, not with them."

Ellen Lee, 16, junior, Huntington Beach

"Oftentimes at parties, I'm pressured to do drugs. But what you have to do is remember your goals. I'm somebody who's heading somewhere."

Alex Kajitani, 16, junior, Irvine

"The race for college has a lot of peer pressure. You've got to get into a prestigious school."

Anne Chen, 16, junior, Capistrano Valley

"I am the peer pressure and I get others to do things."

Josh White, 15, freshman, Estancia

"Swearing is a big problem, but usually I just sit there and listen quietly."

Leonard Beltran, 17, junior, Whittier Christian

"There's intellectual pressure. You're not allowed to be too smart. And there's pressure to act dumb. You should believe in yourself and your opinions, and not be afraid to voice them out."

Janet Chen, 18, senior, Capistrano Valley

"You have to look nice all the time and wear different clothes every day. Also, you are afraid to give your opinion in class when asked."

Zoe Bishop, 17, senior, University

"All teen-agers should avoid people who push things on them. Personally, I've never come across anyone who has ever tried to influence me in a negative way. Generally, parents assume that children with bad reputations will try to push drugs and alcohol on their children, but that is really the wrong assumption of most kids."

Anhthu Hoang, 18, senior, Savanna

"Whether to do homework, cheat on a test or even go to school. Most of my friends wouldn't do this, but if they do I just ignore them."

Mike Thrasher, 14, freshman, San Clemente

"To act a certain way around the groups at school that are not like myself; so when I want to be myself, I just leave them."

Erik O'Donnell, 18, senior, Ocean View

"Sometimes peer pressure makes me do what I feel is wrong, but since it is too uncool not to do it, I just say yes."

John Tang, 17, senior, Estancia

"Peer pressure in mainly schoolwork--competition between friends. I don't take it very seriously; I listen to it and take it into consideration."

Thomas Kleisli, 17, junior, Huntington Beach

"I was pressured into answering this question. I obviously answered and I still don't know whether or not it's right or wrong, but I still feel bad about it."

Mike Arriga, 18, senior, Whittier Christian

"I have no friends, and no life to feel pressure from. No, I'm just kidding. I seriously don't feel anything."

Shayna Liebbe, 16, sophomore, Laguna Hills

"When I was younger I felt peer pressure, but now I don't care because if you fall prey, you are dust. You have to live your own life. I've changed social groups now, but pressure is in everything, including schoolwork."

Cameron Folmar, 16, junior, University

"Throw things at others; I don't."

Ross Alloway, 15, freshman, Heritage

"I feel peer pressure in just about everything, but I hardly give in. I do the things that I feel like doing."

Vy Do, 17, senior, Huntington Beach

"I can't really determine peer pressure. It's just another experience of being a teen-ager, and it's not an issue with the people I hang around with."

Abby Roschman, 16, junior, Irvine

"To speed while driving. Usually I do, but when my friend got a ticket, I decided to slow down where she was pulled over."

Katynka Martinez, 17, junior, Whittier Christian

"There is a lot of peer pressure on the way people dress. They try to stand out and wear expensive clothes."

Julie Jameson, 18, senior, Capistrano Valley

"Doing well in school, yes, I feel pressure; but in the way I look, I don't care about pressure."

Bita Mansouri, 16, junior, University

"I'm a loner, so I don't have peer pressure."

Sigi Cabrera, 16, junior, Estancia

"I feel peer pressure when someone dares me to do something or if I'm doing geometry and everyone has a different answer from mine. I mostly do what they say, like change my answer to fit theirs."

Nathan Zugsay, 14, freshman, Huntington Beach

"To disobey my parents. If that person is telling me to do something I know my parents wouldn't approve of, they still know I won't do it."

Debbie Lisle, 17, junior, Whittier Christian

"It's important to look and act cool in school and drive fancy cars. People should be happy with what they have. They should drive safely too, because a lot of us need to act cool."

Peter Sever, 15, sophomore, Capistrano Valley

"There is no such thing as peer pressure. It's just a weak excuse for doing something which is usually considered to be wrong or dangerous, and by people who are afraid or embarrassed to take the blame for something they took part in."

Paulette Sakely, 18, senior, Savanna

"I feel pressure to get good grades."

Tula Holder, 17, senior, San Clemente

Next Week's Hot Topic:

What's the luckiest thing that's ever happened to you?

Hot Topic responses gathered by Tina Nguyen (Capistrano Valley), Sydney Truong (Estancia), John Doney (Heritage), Jane Wey (Huntington Beach), Adria Silva (Irvine), Megan Kenney (Laguna Hills), Felice Wu (Ocean View), Cindy Shaver (San Clemente), Jonathan Han (Savanna), Kiley Coble (University) and Gabriel Martinez (Whittier Christian).

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