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College Pressure Essay

William Zinsser’s in his essay “College Pressure” published 1979, describes the pressures Yale students have economic, parental, and peer/self- induced. He says that these pressures make students afraid to take a risk and to try to take different paths. He wants them to believe in themselves and to try to enjoy their time in college. I have been a student at Reedley Community College for two years and the pressure I experience as a student and a mother are different from that the Yale student experienced. The first pressure that Yale students and I experience is economic pressure.

Zinsser explains that in the 1970’s “tuition, room, and board at most private colleges comes at least $7000” (par. 12). He also explains how much pressure Yale students are under, that “even if the [student] works part time during school and full time during the summer”, but accrue $5000 in loans after four years, loans that the [student] must start to repay within one year after graduation” (par. 13). Then, Zinsser goes on to say that no matter how hard the student works he or she will be under pressure to pay back all the money he used.

I relate to this pressure, but in a very different way. Although the cost of school for me is relatively low, I have four kids that are away at college. Having four children needing help with tuition and books puts a lot of financial pressure on me as a parent. Also, having six kids in general, three of which are girls, is expensive regardless. The country’s economic disparity has left personal finances tight and puts me under a lot of pressure to make sure my kids have everything that they need and that all bills are paid.

Another pressure William Zinsser’s mentions is parental pressure which Yale students and I feel but slightly different . It refers to the amount of pressure students get from their parents. The students are being torn between pleasing their parents and pleasing themselves. Zinsser’s mentions that “often times students are walking to labs as though they are walking to the dentist. “(par. 15) Students are taking on majors in a course of study that they do not necessarily like, however, in order to keep their parents happy they take them on.

They are under pressure because they want to please their parents but they’re unhappy they want to do. Because they aren’t doing what. Because I am an adult this pressure does not really apply to me. However, I do feel the pressure from my children. My children expect me to get good grades, as well as maintain everything in the house. When dinner is not made on time because of my homework, my children get upset. They also complain about laundry not being done quickly enough. Although they support me, their expectations of me put me under a lot of pressure.

The final pressure that Zinsser mentions is Peer/ self-induced pressure which are a pressure that Yale students and I apply on us. Students apply unnecessary pressure on them by comparing themselves to their peers. Zinsser mentions that a student he calls Linda “who came in and said she was under terrible pressure because her roommate, Barbra was much brighter and studied all the time. ” This student is a perfect example of making an unnecessary comparison which stresses her out.

This pressure leads to students over work them-selves. “A professor will assign five-page papers”. “Several students will start writing ten-page papers to impress him. ”(par. 27). Instead of just following the guidelines of an assignment they are trying to shoot above and beyond the requirements. I can really relate to this pressure because I do add a lot of stress on myself. I immediately assume everyone is doing better than me which makes me work harder, but at the same time it causes me to over work myself.

I have to make sure all my kids need are done, and then I stay up late to make sure all my school work is done. This pressure affects me negatively because I add a lot of stress on myself that does not need to be added. Instead of focusing on my growth academically. I am always worried about who is doing better than me in class. A couple of ways I am trying to manage my stress is by making daily and weekly to-do lists and putting the most important at the top and working my way down. It’s a great way to manage my time as well.

Being that I am a mother of six, my stress level seems like it’s multiplied by seven and I need to be able to put some of that stress aside and finally focus on my schooling since my oldest is twenty-two and my youngest is thirteen. Another great way I make stresses more manageable is by keeping procrastination to a huge minimum. If work that is assigned gets gradually done before the due date, it won’t all pile up the night before causing you to panic. Stress always piles up and it occurs more than any of us would like, but it shouldn’t be a reason to fail. By overcoming these pressures, we become stronger at the end.


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