It is the final week of term and some time ago Morgan’s class had decided that they would all wear the same t-shirts and have the same hair style for their sports day this week. When I say the class had decided what I really mean is that some of the more vocal ones had made the decision and the rest had agreed to go along with it.
You know, in the name of team spirit and all that.
Unfortunately for them Morgan did not like either choice and said she didn’t want to buy one of the t-shirts to wear – even if it did have the class name printed on it.
Her fellow students were not amused. They insisted that she conform.
This was not a teacher led directive, this was peer pressure. And we all know what happens when you don’t succumb to peer pressure, don’t we?
Towards the end of last week there was a delegation of people constantly badgering Morgan to get a t-shirt but still she refused. She said she didn’t want to wear a skin-tight purple, short-sleeved v-neck top as she would be uncomfortable in it. As for the discussion about the hair style, she said she didn’t even answer them anymore.
It all came to a head on Monday morning when another girl told Morgan that she’d got her own mum to pay for the top so that Morgan could wear it; it was handed over and Morgan reluctantly accepted it and paid for the additional name printing.
When she came home she tried it on and showed it to me. “Ugh!” she said as she ripped it off and threw it on her bed. “I’m not wearing it. It doesn’t suit me; I’d never wear that anywhere. You can have it; I’ll say it’s yours now so that it doesn’t belong to me.”
On the morning of sports day she dressed in her normal school P.E. kit and got ready to set off. I asked her where the other top was.
“Why did you remind me?” she grimaced. “I wanted to say I forgot it.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled, “I thought you’d paid for it so were going to wear it now.”
“No!” came the firm reply. “I’m not wearing it.”
“What about the class pictures for prize giving and all that? Wouldn’t it be nice if you all looked the same? You know, wearing the same top and that?” I asked.
“Why do we all have to look the same anyway? We’re all different.” She paused for a response. I had nothing to add right then.
So she continued. “I mean, look at our faces. None of us look the same! What’ll they want next? Us to all wear masks so we look the same?” She unceremoniously stuffed the hated t-shirt into her kit bag and we left for the bus stop.
At the end of the day I cautiously asked her how it all went. Happily she spilled information about all the activities and their final placing in the overall events; they had done extremely well as a class and Morgan had achieved brilliant results on an individual level. I smiled contentedly as she was obviously happy.
Sensing that it was a good time I tentatively asked about the t-shirt wearing.
“Oh,” she replied breezily, “I didn’t wear it.” I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad at this point so I decided to withhold further reactions until I heard more.
“How did that go down with the rest of the class?” I asked.
“It’s alright,” she replied. C said that she’d have it back since her mum paid for it and that she’d give me back the money I spent on the printing.”
“So,” I continued feeling a surge of joy rising, “they didn’t give you a hard time then?”
“No, nobody seemed to care really. They knew it wasn’t my type of clothes anyway.
They said they know what I’m like so they just left me alone.”
There are many ways to deal with pressure. You can wither conform or ... not, thus giving you the opportunity to gain respect for your individuality. This is Morgan’s way.
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