Guest Column: Former Martin County High School SWAT President Reflects on Her First Year in College
By Megan Koenig, June 23, 2014

We make everyday decisions starting as soon as we wake up in the morning. Most of these, like what to eat for breakfast, have short-term effects and are not given much thought. Unfortunately, not all decisions can be brushed off this easily.

High school is classified as a time of choices. It is when students start their life path towards prospective colleges, jobs, or military involvement. Throughout high school, I saw many of my peers stumbling through choices. I witnessed some students brush off the thought of tobacco’s long-term effects and get caught in its trap, and I also saw other friends reach out for help.

Megan Koenig

Unfortunately, drug use is glorified to the public to the point where teenagers think it is a normal thing to do. Drug use has become too casual in society. Now enrolled at a university, I am starting to transition into adulthood. As college students, we are no longer sheltered by the umbrella of our parents, and we are exposed to all cruelties of the outside world. Temptations appear at every corner, and our strength is tested. Our peers become our support system and are present to give opinions in our decision making processes. You begin learn that your actions and choices affect more than just you. Although I no longer hold the Students Working Against Tobacco President title that I once accepted with honor in high school, I still do my part to help my peers in need.

The easiest way to break away from tobacco is to not start. The “full college experience” cannot be found in the butt of a cigarette. Decisions that can have a snowball effect should not be taken lightly. We cannot sit back and let the influence of this decision rest solely on the shoulders of famous movie stars. It is time to step up and “Be the influence.”

Megan Koening is the former President of the Martin County High School Students Working Against Tobacco Club in 2013. She recently completed her Freshman year at the University of Florida.