Of the four pressures discussed in Zinsser’s essay, I think the one pressure that I am most affected by is self-induced. Self-induced pressure is a by-product and the ultimate consequence of the other pressures Zinsser mentions (peer, parental, economic). I feel that all of these pressures can be categorized as self-induced. The key to dealing with pressure and the degree of pressure one experiences, lies directly in ones self. In other words, you control the pressure. I found this brief and pretty insightful excerpt via twitter, and I think it sheds a different light on the stress and pressure I feel as a college student. (http://academictips.org/blogs/let-go-of-your-stresses/)
I can’t deny, as a college student, that I feel certain pressures every day, and that these pressures drive me to sleepless nights and heart-pounding, mini mental breakdowns. I also can’t deny, that I realize these pressures are entirely self-induced. My freshmen year at SUNY Albany, I had an economics professor who’s credo was: “You don’t have to love your career, you just have to tolerate it”. In my naiveté, I heeded his advice, and acted on the notion that I needed a flashy, get-rich-quick kind of career path. I chose a major in business with a focus in finance. For the next year or so, I felt pressured to succeed academically and gain some kind of competitive edge in this increasingly competitive field I chose to study.
To be honest, I’m feeling a bit of these pressures right now, as my brain is pretty much fried from staring directly into the computer screen for hours on end in preparation for my midterms. So forgive me if the rest of this blog seems like a rant. As for this idea of finding a get-rich-quick career, I don’t feel the same anymore. I’ve no explanation for it. I just don’t. There was no major epiphany or distinct moment of clarity. I just changed as a person, and abandoned the notion of just “tolerating” a career. That being said, I think it’s helped me cope with the common pressures of a college student. It’s the idea that, once in a while, you just need to say screw it. This does not mean that I do not value my education. I think the value of education is unnecessarily inflated by parental and peer expectations. I for one, feel immune to this imposition. I realize the importance of a college education and it’s value in the workplace, but I try not to stress over it. I take comfort in my individuality, and confidence in myself that one day I will succeed. I’m not following any specific career path, and if you asked me where I see myself in five years, I’d have no answer for you. Truth is, I don’t care where I’m going to be in five years, as long as I’m happy, and most importantly, as long as I’m moving forward. That pretty much sums up my post-graduate plans: None. It might sound like a cliche, but to be honest, I just want some sense of self-satisfaction, and to be happy in whatever I’m doing.