16 Make good choices During the next few years, you’ll hear a lot about smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex. Everyone knows that it’s harmful and illegal for students to drink or smoke. Everyone also knows that taking drugs is both illegal and dangerous. As for relationships, middle school students should be very careful about getting into any kind of physical relationship with another. Choices have consequences Of course, some middle school students drink, smoke, or try using drugs. The students who are involved in these activities have made a choice, and they will have to deal with the consequences. At some point, you may have to decide whether or not you’re going to participate in one or more of these activities. Consider the consequences and decide what activities you will, and will not, get involved in. Also, think about what you will say and do before you’re in a situation where you have to make a quick choice or decision. For example, you should decide that smoking is something you’re not going to do before someone offers you a cigarette. You don’t have to "go along with the crowd” Too often students do things they normally wouldn’t do just to go along with the crowd. Of course, many of these students later regret their actions. Think about who you are and who you want to be—before you find yourself in a difficult situation. Don’t ever do something that doesn’t feel right, and don’t ever feel that you need to explain yourself. If someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, just say, “No, I don’t think so” or “No thanks.” Of course, you can also make up an excuse and just leave. “I see lots of people making choices because of what their friends think. But their friends won’t be the ones who have to face the consequences.” Marisa “I felt pressure from a friend once. But I thought about what might happen, said no, and walked away. I’m glad I did.” Emily