In Their Own Words

Peer pressure

Before COVID-19 hit, I was 11 years old and in Grade 6. I started school when I was 4 years old, so I’m typically younger than most people, (I’m now 13 years old and in high school).

Middle school, I was already nervous, then the school year ended up being online halfway through the year. I wasn’t used to the idea of online school. I rarely used technology in school until that year and most of the teachers didn’t know what to do either. Due to them not having the proper training for online school, the students no longer had to do work until the next year. I had occasional anxiety at that point, but it wasn’t major, that is until Grade 7.

I had a rough time understanding things because I was behind. I constantly felt like I was far less intelligent than everyone in my class. I was getting bullied by older girls in my class; I would be threatened, made fun of, had my belongings destroyed and got taunted about it. Because of this, anxiety got a lot worse.

From then on, things went downhill. Grade 8 was better at first because my bullies were in high school. However, a group of boys would make fun of me inside and outside of school and turned nearly my whole class against me. I would consistently receive dirty looks and hear things about me and my best friend. I was missing more days than I was going.

An old friend entered a relationship with one of the guys who was rude to me. She would constantly choose him over me but claim that we were best friends. At one point, he called me a “whore” about five or six times, then proceeded to grab me by the roots of my hair and smash my head into the lunch table I was sitting at. I grew extremely depressed and suicidal due to everything.

When I got to high school, I was more than thrilled to have more freedom and friends, to join clubs and do better academically. Yet, again things went downhill, this time it was my fault completely, though. I allowed myself to hang out with people I definitely shouldn’t have and started smoking marijuana. My mother found out, thankfully, and I’m now trying to get on the right path. I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was all over the place because I gave into peer pressure. I skipped class to go and smoke marijuana, damaging my grades, reputation, brain development, and affecting my medication and lungs. I feel ashamed to say that I willingly took that route but I’m feeling better now that I’m able to redirect myself with the help of my loving mother.

Covid-19 affected me, but it made me stronger and helped me understand very important things that some adults don’t.

I’ve been educated about drug use, but peer pressure is stronger than I ever thought it could be.

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1 Comment
  • Samantha says:

    Amazing account of how you bounced back. Love how you don’t blame the world and you took control back! Great writing!!


Hayden Johnston

Harbourview High school – Grade 9
St. John’s, New Brunswick

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