When we think of school, we think of a place where we go to get education. But education doesn’t only take place in classrooms but also outside classrooms. In fact, even our friends become source of education. It is important to realize that not all education is positive and I learnt it the hard way through a friend I really believed in and tried to copy. But I eventually learnt one should trust his own judgment and be not afraid to stand up for himself no matter how great the social pressure may be.

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When we are in school, we are quite self-conscious. We want to be the coolest kid in school and not surprisingly, we want to hang out with other cool students because people we hang our also help form our social image. Two years ago, one of my best friends was Fahd whom I had known since middle school. Fahd was one of the most popular students in the school which was also due to his rich family background and social status. Everyone in the school wanted to be friends with him, thus, I felt very lucky to be his friend. I had even convinced myself I owe a lot to Fahd because he has improved my social image in school. The reality is that friendship should be a sincere relationship based on selfless regard for each other but like many young people I had wrong understanding of the term ‘friendship’. As a result, I would be more than willing to do anything Fahd would ask me to do. And this eagerness of mine to please Fahd almost cost me my life but fortunately the worst didn’t happen.

Every weekend, Fahd, me and some of our friends would make social plans. One weekend, Fahd decided we should go for illegal street racing even though none of us including Fahd had a driving license. But Fahd persuaded everyone by promising to bring his elder brother’s Bentley Continental GT which seats four people. I initially agreed with the plan because I thought the racing would take place at a racing strip closed to general traffic. But I found on the day of racing that the plan was to race with few of Fahd’s rich friends each of whom had a luxury sports car such as Aston Martin and Lamborghini.

I tried to persuade Fahd to cancel the plan because it was too risky to race on highway with heavy traffic. I even presented the argument that life is only given once and while there is nothing wrong with fun, it is foolish to take too much risk for the sake of fun. Fahd replied he has done this before and I am just too scared like a girl. He also threatened if I didn’t go with him, he will break his friendship with me. The right thing for me would have been to break the friendship but I didn’t want to lose the social benefits that came with being Fahd’s friend, thus, I went along with him.

It would have been just five minutes into the race when the tire of Fahd’s car punctured and the car started skidding uncontrollably. Fahd’s attempts to safely stop the car failed and the car finally came to rest after hitting the pole. Fortunately, the airbags as well as the high quality of the car’s body construction saved us though Fahd and I did incur minor injuries. We were also fortunately we didn’t collide with another car on the road otherwise the injuries would have been much more serious and we might also have harmed others.

After the incident I broke up with Fahd because it was clear one is influenced by the company one keeps. I was blinded by the temporary benefits that came with Fahd’s friendship that I even chose to ignore the huge risk my intuition was telling me to avoid. It was also clear I didn’t have real friendship with Fahd because real friends don’t put each other in harm’s way and real friendship are also not so weak that they collapse due to a minor argument.