It is unarguably true that every individual makes up the big body of persons called the ‘society‘. But, the fact that there is a collective body of norms or cultures that guide the lifestyles of people within a particular society or another should not disrupt the freedom of an individual to make certain personal decisions. Every human being is a product of one society or the other, thus, an individual’s life is shaped by the society that births him/her. The culture, religion, and in a nutshell, the lifestyle that one is born into has a lot of impact on one’s life. Most times, an individual’s perspective of life is an end product of what the world around him/her has inculcated in him/her. The same process goes on with several other aspects of one’s life. The kinds of religious beliefs, manners of approach to life and situations, decisions, etc. that one ends up with can be traced to the society from which one is born or bred.

For ages, the serious influence that collective socialization has on individual lifestyle has been accused of limiting the freedom of a person to be independent mentally, spiritually, economically, socially, and in many other areas of life. The urge to attain a good level of societal expectations is often evident in the decisions made by individuals. Even when these choices concerns only them; not the society at large. For example, some parents put their children or wards in a particular school because ‘that is what the people around them expect of them,even when they can not comfortably afford the tuition fees or are not even satisfied with the performance of their children in the school. It could also be that one is after material wealth at a time in one’s life when one’s financial status can not bear the expenditures. My father could decide to get a new car, a particular model of car, because he’s friends just bought theirs. And he needs to ‘belong‘, so that ‘people won’t think that he is not capable of living a good life.’ It could as well be that a young boy/girl repeatedly strives to pass the entrance examinations of a tertiary institution that many people around him/her believe to be be the best and the only place to be fully successful in life.’ I have a similar experience of this. Most of my elder ones graduated from a certain university. And this tertiary institution is known for excellence in academic and social life. I grew a flair for the university (consciously or subconsciously). And when I was about to decide which university I wanted to attend, I opted for that same institution. I had learned to love it for many reasons, even though I was still a novice; I hadn’t got a personal experience of the university. It turned out to be good, anyways. But I realised that there were people who had the similar experience as mine, but their expectations weren’t met by their experience in the university. For some, it turned out to be that they were not comfortable with the environment, or that they believed that they would have been better if they had chosen a different tertiary institution.

… to be continued

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