Friends are now mentors

Times have changed and today a quick survey conducted amongst youngsters as to who they turn to for career related advice results in friends bagging the maximum votes. A closer look at the social balance will reveal that the scales have indeed tipped in favor of peers when it comes to making crucial career decisions. A shift in the thinking patterns and the amount of time one spends with friends have been contributing factors for students to look up to their peers over parents.

Peer pressure is a term describing the pressure exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change their attitude, behavior and/or morals, to conform to, for example, the group’s actions fashion sense, taste In music and television, or outlook on life and even career.

Following reasons for the altitudinal shift:

1. Parents at times lay unreasonable expectations regarding career choices without understanding the child’s aptitude, interest and capacity.
2. Being with friends further vindicates the human psyche – ‘I have someone with me’.
3. Youngsters often share the same dreams, ambitions and future plans.
4. They discuss and do a lot if research as far as courses opportunities and career prospects are concerned. As a result they interact on to same platform which does not tend to happen when with parents.
5. With peers they do not fear taking risks as far as academic choices are concerned.

Gone are the days when a doctor’s daughter aspired to be doctor and an engineer’s some an engineer. With the education system diversifying into uncharted territories and treading new paths, students no longer wish to conform to the like parent like child maxim. Though most of them continue to revere their parents as role models, it is friends who have now assumed the mantle of career counselors and consultants. When asked some students said that parents are not abreast with the new developments while some opined that they have friends who are successful in their chosen vocation gives them access to first hand information which would not be the case with parents. Financial independence is also one of the reasons which explain the migration of youngsters from parental aegis to peer proximity. As a parent rightly puts it, earlier children were totally dependent on parent for their needs. But these days with financial freedom creeping into the lifestyle of most youngsters, they feel liberated to discuss and decide amongst themselves. With academic and work compulsions resulting in many youngsters staying away from home, they begin finding familiar bonding with their peers, thus validating the statement. When the family is away, friends become family. Also the emergence of social networking sites has given the added privilege of interacting with like-minded people from multifarious backgrounds thus broadening one’s vision. Social networking sites have communities dedicated to specific vocations and provide a forum for people with common interests to interact. This medium of information exchange can be very useful to resolve doubts pertaining to higher studies and career issues.

Having the right peer group can also be instrumental in steady academic progression as well as personality enhancement that as children influence over them diminishes and influence of the friends gains ground. While parent continue to occupy a position of honor in the Indian society, it can not be denied that when youngsters stand at the crossroads of life, the signpost they see reads as “Friends”.

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