Any college student can relate to all the pressures stated by William Zinsser in “College Pressures”. It is true that college students want a fixed map to reach their career goal. However, there will be ups and downs like financial stress and there will be times when there is a need to change career paths or jobs but no one wants that- including me. I have a fixed path- take MCAT, graduate from Stony Brook with a good GPA, get into med school and become a psychiatrist. It worries me every time I think about not being accepted into med schools. I know I need to keep my options open and be flexible but I still want everything to be the way I plan just like every other student wants. Like Zinsser says “There will be a plenty of time to change jobs, change careers, change whole attitudes and approaches. They don’t want to hear such news. They want a map right now- that they can follow directly to career security, financial security, social security and,presumably, a prepaid grave” (Zinsser 1).
Every college student faces at least one college pressure stated by Zinsser. The four pressures are- Economic pressure, parental pressure, peer pressure and self-induced pressure.
I face economic pressure since I have financial aid and I need to pay the loans although my parents are helping me. My parents are facing pressure as well since the exchange rate between rupees and dollars have become worse. When I was a freshman 1$= 45rs and now 1$= 70rs. This has increased my tuition fee by nearly 50%. I got a job to help my parents so that at least they don’t have to pay for my personal expenses.
My mother is an education consultant and she is always counseling students. Now that I am in college and I have to worry about grad school as well, my mom is always asking me about studies and counseling me. I know she is worried and just wants to know how I am doing but this puts more pressure on me. Also, my parents have high expectations and I don’t want to disappoint them as they trusted me and let me study in the U.S and not India.
Students face peer pressure when their friends are performing well and they feel that they are not doing as well as their friends. Lastly, all these factors contribute towards self-induced pressure too. I feel that I am not smart but I am hard working. Every time I have an exam I think about not disappointing my parents and achieving my career goals. It helps but often I feel overwhelmed with all the pressures.
To overcome all these problems, I try to study in advance for every exam so that I don’t have to pull an all-nighter. I know going to TA’s and office hours of professors can be time consuming, but its really helpful as they help you with every problem that you have with the material. Sometimes I watch YouTube videos or have study groups to help me study better and do well in exams. However, after using all these strategies sometimes I feel that I am not doing enough. After reading Zinsser’s essay, I felt motivated. I convinced myself that its okay if everything doesn’t go the way I plan to reach my goal as many successful people had their own struggles to achieve what they wanted- “The students always assume that they started in their present profession and knew all along that it is what they wanted to do. But in fact, most of them got where they are by a circuitous route, after many side trips” (Zinsser 2)