What You See is Not Aways What You Get
Throughout the trimester, I have discussed various core concepts in human development with my students on Developmental Psychology. Because they are college students, however, I gave extra attention to the discussions on adolescent development and behavior. I appreciated how candid they were in discussing their experiences and thoughts about things going on around them. It doesn’t surprise me, however, that many of their concerns were still congruent to my concerns as an adolescent.
One thing we discussed is all about adolescent egocentrism and why people at that stage are likely to engage in extremely high risk behaviors, such as experimenting with drugs and alcohol, driving under the influence, unprotected sexual relations and the like. We talked about the biological, psychological and other factors that contribute to that. We also went on to discuss the dangers and repercussions of such behaviors. Often times, because of their sense of invinsibility (which comes from their egocentrism), they think ‘that can’t happen to me’.
I have to admit that even I tend to think that way every now and then, yes, even if I am no longer an adolescent. This is perhaps because we tend to take things for granted too often. For example, one of my biggest faults is my tendency to text or check my phone when I get stuck in traffic. I rationalize that I do this only when I am stopped, but too often a time, I catch myself driving with my phone in my hands without even thinking about it. It’s become a habit, sad to say. So it takes conscious effort to remind myself to not do it. Once, I remember I kinda bumped into the curb (thank God it was just the curb!) because I wasn’t paying attention because I was engrossed with my phone.
Other high risk behaviors adolescents and young adults alike tend to engage in is driving under the influence (errr…yes yes yes… ) During our lectures I got to ask them what behaviors they do, even though they know it can be risky. The most common response I got from them was “I drive even if I had one or two beers/shots/drinks“. To be honest, initial thought bubble that flashed in my head was : that’s okay, as long as you’re not hilo (yes, spoken like a true margarita queen haha). Granted that we can tolerate a certain safe level of alcohol in our system, we cannot deny that it does impair us in many levels, especially in excessive amounts. For one, physically we become less inhibited and more carefree. Motor coordination and reflexes are likewise affected. On a cognitive level, our judgment is also impaired. We fail to recognize signs, focus on details and this can affect spatial reasoning. Take for example this photo:
If I were driving and I was a little too tipsy, I may assume that I could go, because the light is green, right? However, it says red. When we’re drunk, we might not notice the little details, thus leading to accidents and even death. That is but one example of impaired judgment when driving drunk.
Driving under the influence claims countless lives all over the world on a daily basis. It was funny that as I lectured on this in class, I myself was struck with that reminder to be more aware of my behaviors. I’m not going to pretend I’ve never done that, get behind the wheel after having a drink or two, I mean. I won’t make any excuses about it either. What I will do, however, is remind myself, just the way I have learned to do so when it comes to mobile texting (yes that’s what I used to call driving and texting), there is much responsibility in my fingertips: use it wisely.