Critical Analysis Of William Zinsser's 'College Pressure'

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March 14, 2013 In his essay “College Pressure” William Zinsser writes about the four main types of pressures that college students face. Economic pressure, parental pressure, peer pressure, and self induced pressure are the main focuses in the essay. Starting the essay with notes from students that they left for their dean is an effective way of engaging readers. First the reader wants to know who Carlos is and of course who all those people that write to him are. In the statement “there are no villains, only victims” (2) Zinsser refers to the blame for all the pressure students experience in college. That blaming somebody else is the easiest way to go through that pressure “to blame the colleges for charging too much money, the professors for assigning too much work, the parents for pushing their children too far, the students for driving themselves too hard.” (2).But at the end everybody is a victim of their own self pressuring to be the best in class or to teach their students the best way they can so they can succeed . Even though this essay was written in 1979 it is relevant to the pressure that influencing …show more content…
"I had a freshman student I'll call Linda," one dean told me, "who came in and said she was under terrible pressure because her roommate, Barbara, was much brighter and studied all the time. I couldn't tell her that Barbara had come in two hours earlier to say the same thing about Linda." (4).This is a great example of peer pressure. The ironic thing about this situation is no one is purposely putting peer pressure on one another.
It is just happening due to the stress that a student feels when they trick themselves into thinking that all of the other students are working harder, are smarter, and are receiving better grades than they are. The final type of pressure discussed is self-induced pressure. This is when students set higher standards for their grades. Like Zinsser says “ A is for Admirable and B is for Borderline, even though, in Yale’s official system of grading, A means excellent and B means very good.”(2). Many college students look at the grading scale in the pessimistic way stated above and put too much pressure on

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