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Peer pressure at school: Do we need to fit in?

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Kimberly Te, Manhasset

Do you ever find yourself buying a pair of sneakers because everyone has them? Do you ever change the way you look because of what other people say? Kids try their hardest to fit in. Especially middle schoolers.

Fitting in is a huge struggle for many middle schoolers. I surveyed a bunch of kids to find out the reasoning behind this. Do you ever buy certain things because everyone has them? One girl said yes because everyone in middle school thinks fitting in is the most important thing. But why do you think people try to fit in? Most kids said they don’t want to be stared at, made fun of or be known as the weird kid. Others said they want to be popular, get more attention and feel better about themselves.

A close friend once told me that she stopped wearing vintage shoes because of a negative comment. She said she started shopping in different stores because of what her friends had to say about her appearance. The desire to fit in forces kids to be afraid of being themselves. The more they felt the need to fit in, the less they felt like themselves.

But you should remember this is all just in your head. Fitting in is the least important thing to worry about. If kids are judging you, just ignore them. It doesn’t matter what they think. You shouldn’t feel you have to change anything about yourself because of what someone said.

Even though it might seem that fitting in is important, in 20 years no one will remember or care about what you wore to school or if it was trendy at the time. After all, why fit in when you can stand out?

Maria Lennon and Erica Schultheis’ writing club, Candlewood Middle School, Dix Hills

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