The groups that one encounters would usually be the ones that shape his or her life. Whatever these groups seem to be like and no matter how negative they are on the outside, there is always something that can be learned from them. …
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Therefore, the challenge of every young adult like me is to find out for himself what good a particular group can bring him and how he can use it in his life. Perhaps, the most influential group I have ever been a part of has always been my family. My family is a big one, an extended family that somehow dictated my every decision even which school I should go to, or which woman I should marry, or which people I should not make friends with, and even which political view I should adopt. My aunts and uncles in both my mother and father sides were highly opinionated people and extremely argumentative too, and sometimes even to the point of being overly critical. Perhaps, it is because they are professionals – lawyers, professors, doctors, and engineers. Since my family values respect for the elderly and since I knew that these people are used to others agreeing with their opinion, I have learned how to be humble, passive and submissive whenever I encountered my older family members. It was necessary for me to say “yes” to them whenever they asked me to do an errand or whenever they gave me some advice on anything – even if it was ridiculous. Another group to which I believe I have particularly belonged for a long time is my group of friends at my high school, with whom I still communicate until now. They have mostly gone to other universities but they have been the most supportive to me during my high school years. Whereas my family only severely criticized me whenever I did poorly on any particularly subject in high school, my friends then distracted me from my frustrations and disappointments with my family. Had I not paid attention to their distractions and had I only focused on the destructive criticisms, I would be taking drugs now. Nevertheless, thanks to my friends in high school – they got me into sports and backpacking. At least, my mind had earned itself a well-deserved break from the constant nagging of my self-righteous family members. With my high school group of friends, there were only just two easy ways to adapt – to play sports and to be myself. Basketball and soccer were as easy to me as having breakfast in the morning so it was not much of a challenge. Ironically, being myself was harder for I grew up in a family where I had to please everyone to the point of assuming a whole new different character. Nevertheless, my family is obviously a more superior group to my high school friends in terms of rules. Another group who I believe has influenced me much is my three friends from our neighborhood. I got these three male friends from the neighborhood who are almost the same age with me and who are also into sports. These three young men are actually extremely dependent on their very supportive parents to the point of being spoiled. In fact, they belong to this group of people who just want to spend their time away, even waste it, thinking they got their parents to back them up all the time. They would usually treat me to some coffee, Gatorade or some Caesar’s salad, as they are all health buffs. Actually, I have nothing to do except to remain below their financial level – that is the only silent requirement for the group. They are three proud and egoistic men who think that no one in this world can equal them. Nevertheless, these three people taught me confidence, and taught me that I had my own free will all along. Somehow, I also needed this to balance the pressure that my family would sometimes impose on me. Although these three young men are not professionals yet just like my aunts and uncles, I believe they are superior in terms of mental and emotional freedom. Society and rules silently control my family members and govern their emotions and reactions, while my three friends are indifferent to a
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