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When you look at the life ahead of you, what do you see yourself doing and being? Your future is the most valuable possession that a person can control. And one small choice that you choose to make today, could change it forever.

One of the most important choices that can be made right now, is the influence that you surround yourself in, and the people that you choose to develop friendships with. Friends are a big part of us; especially at this time in our lives. We depend on them to help us through. Friends are the ones we call when we are upset, and need someone to complain to. Friends are the ones we cry to when something in our lives have gone terribly wrong; and when some one that we loved, and someone that we looked up to hurt us. Friends are the ones we go to when we need a good laugh The ones we make unforgettable memories with; memories that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Like William Arthur Ward said, "A true friend knows you weaknesses, but shows your strengths; feels your fears, but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties, but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities, but emphasizes your possibilities." We may not realize it at times, but friends are the ones that influence us the most, and it's important to choose the right ones. If you choose friends that you know don't do the right thing, you could find yourself in situations that you never expected to be in. They can force you to do things against your will, just by making you feel that you won't fit in if you don't. Maybe you think that your one of those people who can stand up to anything, and stay true to yourself; but peer pressure is one of the strongest struggles that teens face today, and it can be avoided simply by choosing good friendships. Friends shape us into who we are: for good, or for bad. But it's the right friends, the true friends, that shape us into who we know we want to be.

Another big choice to decide is wether you support premarital sex, or not. To choose wether you want to save yourself today, or face the possibilities of teen pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases. It's been proven, that of the over 60,000,000 who have been infected with HIV in the past 20 years, about half become infected between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the U.S. Center for disease control and prevention, about 25% of sexually active teenagers get a sexually transmitted disease every year. And 80% of infected teens don't even know they have an STD, passing the diseases along to unsuspecting partners. When it comes to AIDS, the data is even more chilling- of the new HIV infections each year, about 50% occur in people under the age of 25. Another issue with premarital sex, is pregnancy. In 2000,



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