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Peer Pressure Can Break You

, , , , | Learning | May 28, 2020

In seventh grade, I fall and break my shoulder and thumb at a school dance. Because this happens at the very beginning of the year, I’m not moved out of my PE class because I should be out of the sling and mostly able to participate in the latter half of the semester.

The first sport I’m able to participate in is volleyball. The doctor warns me not to overexert myself because the bone is still delicate. This is fine for the first week. We only practice underhand moves.

Then, one day, we’re learning to serve overhand. This is a sharp, snapping motion that I can tell will hurt my shoulder. The teams rotate positions, so I start as far away from serving as possible and hope class will end before it’s my turn. It doesn’t.

Me: “I can’t serve. That’ll hurt my arm.”

Classmate #1: “Come on, [My Name]. it’s what we’re doing today. You have to do it.”

Me: “Let me ask [Teacher].”

Classmate #2: “She’ll just tell you the same thing. Hurry up.”

I try and fail to get my teacher’s attention because she’s on the other side of the room. After a few minutes of my classmates insisting I have to try, I succumb to peer pressure and give it a shot.

As soon as I do, I hear a crack, and I fall to the floor in pain. The other students play for a minute before they realize I’m actually hurt. The teacher comes running over.

Teacher: “You didn’t need to serve if it was going to hurt your arm! Go to the nurse.”

The nurse sent me home, and I returned to the doctor with instructions to go back in the sling for a little longer. I did rebreak my shoulder, but it healed relatively quickly. At least I learned not to listen to peer pressure.

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