Essay Sample on College Pressure

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1161 Words
Date:  2022-08-17


William Zinsser tries to describe the pressure that college students encounter in this article "College Pressure." In the article, he highlights four types of pressures encountered, and they include peer, parental, economic and self-induced. The article postulates that college students spend their time thinking about how their future will pan out. This means to invest their time to secure their future and in the process, and they fail to enroll in creative classes thereby expanding their minds. Also, the article "A Writing Coach Becomes a Listener" by Dan Barry seeks to support the ideas presented by Zinsser. The paper seeks to examine the integrity of the remarks by Zinsser concerning the ordeals encountered by college students.

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Zinsser explains that college students are in too much pressure to succeed. This is demonstrated in how they panic for perfect scores. Their woes are evident as they seek a roadmap about their life from Zinsser. He points his awareness to the student's fear and hopes alike. This shows how Zinsser knows his students pointing towards the credibility of the observation he makes. Zinsser suggests to his students a life in which they need to let some time go of the fear and experience life as it is meant to be. He often states that "Mainly I try to remind them that the road ahead is a long one and that it will have more unexpected turns that they think. There will be plenty of time to change jobs, change careers, change whole attitudes and approaches" (Zinsser). It shows that in the development of a student as an all-rounded person, there is more to it than a career. In the article by Dan Barry, Zinsser tries to communicate the same message to Ms. Dykstra. That it is not just about writing, you have to enjoy and make it an adventure as you do so. That writing is not an overnight experience but an adventure that takes time to grow and develop. This is evident as the article quotes Zinsser "It reads like a textbook," he tells Ms. Dykstra. "This is not solved overnight" (Barry).

Examining the four kinds of college pressures presented by Zinsser, students have to deal with serious economic pressures. College fee has immensely increased over the years, and students need to obtain loans after loan to finance them. They find it a must to get best grades so that they are assured of high paying jobs to settle their loans. There is a famous notion encouraged by parents that if you get a degree for careers that are considered high paying to avoid struggles late on in life. It is evident that college students face immense economic pressures and the arguments by Zinsser are well founded. However, the question that begs answers is if the pressure that students subject themselves in is entirely worth it in the end. Mr. Zinsser tries to open students' eyes to that; there is much more to seen and experience. This is evident as Barry states "This may be because Mr. Zinsser has seen so much. He grew up in privilege on the north shore of Long Island, graduated from Princeton, served in the Army during World War II and embarked upon a long life of constant reinvention" (Barry).

College students think a good certificate determines their entire life. The current grading system is not even good enough due to overachievement. Everyone wants to get A's because anything less that is not good enough. Peer pressure is increasing as students do not want to see their colleagues study more than them which increase pressure as they are competing to be the best and fill the same job positions. College life should be more than learning to build careers. It should also encompass developing one's creativity in addition to experiencing other things in life. To ensure complete concentration, they avoid sports and other interesting extracurricular activities. Students are deluded to think their lives will turn out exactly how they planned. There are many variables involved during and after college which means things change. It is evident when quoting the dean of Branford College, Zinsser points that "They ought to take chances. Not taking chances will lead to a life of colorless mediocrity. They'll be comfortable. But something in the spirit will be missing." This point can be enhanced by the life of Zinsser. Barry states that "He worked as a feature writer and film critic for the late, lamented New York Herald Tribune; wrote 18 books on myriad subjects; taught nonfiction writing at Yale; worked as a senior editor at the Book-of-the-Month Club; moonlighted as a jazz pianist; and, while in his late 80s, wrote a blog on the arts for the Web site of The American Scholar that won a National Magazine Award for digital commentary. For many years he maintained an office, where he wrote, coached and counseled" (Zinsser).

The credibility of Zinsser's observation can be observed in the way he employs pathos. He uses this as a mode of persuasion. Citing instance of notes sent to Carlos Hortas, Zinsser tries to explain to the reader the pressures that college students encounter. The reader is encouraged to feel themselves in the situation of the college students. For instance, pathos is used to explain the stress the students get from parental pressure. Instead of students following their passion, they have to who what parents require of them. To point this out, Zinsser describes a story in which a student who loves art has to do what her parents want and consider respectable. She has to combine doing what her father wants and a few art courses. Such a situation should elicit sympathy from the readers. It works to prove that students go through things they are forced to do. Zinsser does not only use pathos but logos too. In this case, he tries to employ logic and facts to ensure the credibility of the observations. Zinsser explains how students are at a pressure of obtaining best grades. The facts used help enhance the credibility of the observations. He also uses ethos which draws the reader to believe the author's arguments. For instance, he explains his expertise at Yale University and in Branford College. He also points that he knows his students very well underlining the fact he knows them very well.


In conclusion, it shocking the pressures students have to go through to make plans for the future. They have parental, economical, peer and self-induced fears. The article by William is credible since he employs pathos, ethos, and logos to explain to the readers the stress students experience and the need to relax and do other things to enhance their creativity.

Work Cited

Barry, Dan. "William Zinsser, Author Of 'On Writing Well,' At His Work." Nytimes.Com, 2013, Accessed 10 Oct 2018.

Zinsser, William. "COLLEGE PRESSURES." Life.Umd.Edu, 1978, Accessed 10 Oct 2018.

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