To be honest, I was completely peer pressured by my friends to go skydiving. That may seem like a negative thing, yet it gave birth to one of the most intense and thrilling experiences of my life as I slid out of that airplane into the abyss over the clouds. Not only was I able to check this one item off my bucket list in Switzerland but also alongside a group of my fellow Cultural Routes members. I know had I not let them completely influence my decision making, I would have regretted this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Peer pressure is a powerful tool that can be both used to both positive and negative ends, most of the time trending toward the negative side. Yet I would assert that peer pressure has nothing to do with peers at all, and simply rests upon one’s personal decisions. You get to choose your friends, and if you choose to surround yourself with good and wholesome people they will pressure you to grow and develop. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with the less than wholesome you will be pushed towards error. The people you choose to spend time with dictate so much of your demeanor, your humor, and your priorities. It’s incredible how you pick up mannerisms from your friends, taking a part of them and making it your own. Thankfully, I’m able to spend this experience surrounded by the members of CR 10 who constantly challenge me to examine myself, recognizing both my strengths and deficiencies.
As we crossed the halfway point in Interlaken I feel as if the group has settled in and everyone is comfortable with one another, allowing people to fully express themselves. This raw expression allows for a constructive atmosphere far surpassing any normal environment. During the first half of the experience, my flaws rose to the surface as I’ve become aware of the lack of vision I have. I’ve seen my intensity, my style of thought, and direct nature harm my relationship with others. I don’t find that to be okay by any means, and I’m incredibly thankful to be surrounded by a group willing to stick with me throughout my attempts and failings at growth.
The full expression of everyone’s self doesn’t only help bring into focus my flaws but the strengths of those around me that pressure me to improve, from Audrey’s ability to listen and observe, to Marat’s meticulousness, to Lauren’s joy, to Indigo’s energy, to Nishu’s thought process and so much more from each of the 15 around me.
The extreme nature of Interlaken helped push our cores to the forefront and reminded me not to stay static, but to reach even deeper into the experience and embrace the pressures of those around me.