Student Involvement and Academic Performance

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Social influence/peer groups were one of the dominant themes in my observations, survey, and literature. Social influence looks at how individual thoughts, actions and feelings are influenced by social groups (Aronson, 2010).The desire to be accepted and liked by others can lead to dangerous behavior. College life can be an overwhelming experience for first time college students and or transfer students as they struggle to manage class time and social activities in an attempt to fit-in in the new environment that they may not be used to. Students can experience too much anxiety and drop out of college or fall behind classes. Working at the Cambell Student Union information Center, I observed a great deal of students falling into this trap of social influence and peer pressure. A female student tripped as she was going up the stairs to Spot Coffee but did not fall. What appears to be a group of guys who are not popular (guys who are not very well known), were seating where popular students normally seat. The group of guys started laughing at the girl and stopped. One guy kept laughing, but it was obvious he was forcing the laughter as to purposely attract attention. He started making jokes about the girl and carrying on the laughter so he would appear to be funny. Another example, which portrays peer influence, involves parties over the weekend. Multiple students stated they were falling behind in classes on the grounds of their friends wanted to go out the night before and they did not want to seem/appear “lame” so they tagged along. The influence of a group is intensified by the person’s desire to be an accepted member of the peer group. To achieve this desire he tries to conform in everyday to the patterns approved by the grou...

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