New School: Choosing New Friends.

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”  Unknown.

“A man is known by the company he keeps.”  Proverb.  Euripides.

The choice of friends is one of the most important and far-reaching decisions all students have to make.  Many research studies and empirical evidence show clearly that friends can have a huge impact on your life.  The friends you choose can influence or determine how you think and behave.  Choosing friends well is a very important skill that all students do not possess.  Over the years I have seen many students excel at school or underachieve and become disruptive, largely as a result of the direct influence of their chosen circle of friends.  Parents and teachers need to guide students in the selection of their friends, although this may be difficult at times.

Here are a few guidelines relative to the choice of friends, that most educators agree on.  Choose serious friends who value schoolwork, respect school rules and who are academically well-organized.  They generally have positive goals in life and work to achieve them.  You can help and inspire each other to attain success.  You can form very effective study groups and participate in extra-curricular activities together, to your mutual benefit and the benefit of the school.  Choose friends who will help you to realize your dreams.  Real friends will not encourage you to do anything wrong.

Avoid choosing friends who do not value schoolwork and who tend to be disruptive.  Reject any tendency on your part to be like them in order to gain acceptance from their group.  They will subject you to negative peer pressure and if they are popular and influential you may not resist.  Think for yourself, decide what is best for you and ignore negative peer pressure.  This is hard to do for some students who want to belong to a group at any cost, and gain the approval of that group; even if it means refusing to work seriously or breaking the school rules and getting into trouble.  For students who lack strength of character, peer pressure can become more important than parental or school values.  Be strong.  always let your thoughts, words and actions reflect what is best for you.

Develop self-discipline and self-control.  Do not choose friends who want to stop you from being your true self and do not let friends choose your behaviour and actions for you.  Define yourself and choose accordingly.  Drop friends who do not share your values and interests.

There is a well-known proverb which states “Birds of a feather flock together.”  Choose your friends wisely since students and people in general tend to mimic the values and behaviour of their friends for better or worse.  You can often predict how a student will perform and behave by observing the friends he or she chooses.

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