Written by a CSUCI Service-Learning student.
There has been one saying I have heard too many times throughout my life in school and that has been, “You’re cool.” I remember the first time I heard this, it was 6th grade in the hallways right by my locker. I was so excited to start middle school and have a locker, I felt like a high schooler. I had a good amount of “friends” (I only speak to one of them now, LOL) and there was a lot of influence that I felt with this group. Now I am sure you are reading this thinking, “What is so wrong with the saying ‘you’re cool’? That is a positive thing!” Not quite. My friend group would say this as an insult because they weren’t happy or proud of the things you got to experience.
This saying caused insecurity for many of the people in my friend group. We didn’t want to brag or talk about the things we either got or where we went on the weekends. The worst part about it is that we all participated in this bullying even though we didn’t like the way it felt when you were the one hearing it. This is a form of peer pressure that I didn’t even realize until I was in my 20’s. We all felt the pressure to keep saying this to each other because we wanted to ACTUALLY feel cool.
It started to become extremely toxic yet it spread like wildfire. Shortly after, the whole entire 6th grade class was using this saying with each other. It didn’t stop until we graduated from 8th grade and a good majority of us went to a different high school. Three long years of hearing this saying and my confidence going into high school was completely gone. It took me a good year to finally get that saying out of my head or thinking people would say that to me in this new environment.
Looking back at my 6th grade self, I wish I could have told my friend group that this saying is actually not fun to say and none of us like saying it. I always wonder if I said the first thing if other people would feel comfortable to speak up and agree with me. This is why peer pressure is an insane cycle and it can be very hard to be the one that goes against what the majority of people are doing. You don’t want to be an outsider. Well I am an outsider now and I completely love it. It is honestly my own choice which at the end of the day is the best feeling; you have the power to choose how you want to act.