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College Pressures

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College Pressures

College is an institution with the purpose of preparing adults for their specific disciplines. Sometimes a college diploma is a guarantee of good jobs and a better future. Today, young adults in college often experience a lot of pressure. The journalist and professor at Yale University, William Zinsser, discusses the pressures and stress with lots of details and reasons in his persuasive and informative essay entitled College Pressures. His essay was directed to parents of college students, professors, job contractors, and college students (Zinsser, 396). Zinsser’s purpose in writing this essay was to encourage students to take risks on their college journey (Zinsser, 398). To make his essay stronger, Zinsser was effective by using persuasive rhetorical writing tools such as pathos, ethos, and logos. College allows young adults to develop necessary skills and improve abilities which they are going to need later in their chosen fields. Initially, college students often undergo a lot of stress in what is expected to be a self-enriched experience. This young generation wants to become successful students. Moreover, Zinsser works at Branford University, and in his essay, Zinsser shared, “I am privy to their hopes and fears- and also to their stereo music and their piercing cries in the dead of night” (Zinsser, 397). To make his essay more credible, Zinsser uses ethos which stands for ethical appeal (Bernanke, 2010). He uses ethos by narrating his experiences with his students, and anecdotes which he knows really well. Although Zinsser belongs to a different generation, he relates to his students’ struggles. As a master, Zinsser has lived with the students during their stressful periods. By using ethos, as a college professor, he has lectured his students about not being so fearful at an early age.
William Zinsser is effective in persuading his audience because he used emotions in some of his arguments. According to Ben Bernanke pathos, also known as the emotional appealing means to connect with the audience by engaging to their emotions (Bernanke, 2010). Through pathos, Zinsser shows his audience how he feels about this situation of college pressure, which affects his students, and most importantly how it could be improved. Zinsser wrote that “I see many students taking pre-medical courses with joyless tenacity. They go to their labs as if they are going to the dentist. It saddens me because I know them in other corners of their lives as cheerful people” (Zinsser, 400). Young adults can relate to this quote because at some point in their lives they have seen themselves in a similar situation. Eventually, assignments become harder and because they are not enjoying the lectures or activities, they feel they will end up wasting time and money. Furthermore, they see themselves as vulnerable in the situation because their parents are paying their tuition. Some choose to sacrifice themselves by not following their dreams because their intention is to satisfy their parents’ dreams. They end up taking safe courses that they are aware they can get a good grade in.
Everyone wants to have good grades and keep a high GPA. As Zinsser stated in his essay, today’s society values more how a person looks on a piece of paper than the person itself. In his essay, Zinsser is effective as he uses strong and convincing arguments. Logos allowed Zinsser to convince his audience through words, his students fears.“It’s all very well for those of us who write letters of recommendation for our students to stress the qualities of humanity that will make them good lawyers or doctors. And it’s nice to think that admission officers are really reading our letters and looking for the extra dimension of commitment or concern” (Zinsser, 399). As Zinsser shows, students worry about getting jobs after college.
To many, a job is a source of money. This money can be used to pay debts and bills. Zinsser emphasized that “We are witnessing in America the creation of a brotherhood of paupers-colleges, parents, and students, joined by the common bond of debt” (Zinsser, 399). In other words, the American society often lives with debts after taking out loans. These loans are to send their kids to college with the intention of creating a prosperous future. This becomes uncertain after graduation. Zinsser also pointed out that it’s not the student’s fault for feeling pressure about making their college experience worth the money that they and their parents are spending. In a tight economic period, with tuition, room, and board at most private colleges costing at least $7,000, not counting books and fees, Zinsser feels that colleges are becoming financially powerful (Zinsser, 399). Cost alone, plus debt after college, illustrates one of Zinsser’s logical reasons of why students are so stressed about getting a job after college.
Zinsser’s advice to students is to enjoy their college experience by not following a roadmap and believe that they have the power within themselves to come out of their comfort zone. Zinsser’s argument about this situation is that, “College should be open-ended: at the end, it should open many, many roads. Instead, students are choosing their goal in advance, and their choices narrow as they go along” (Zinsser, 402). Students and parents need to comprehend that there is nothing wrong about failing as long as they are trying, and not being absolutely a hundred percent sure about their post college careers. His argument was effective because he used logical facts and anecdotes to persuade and inform his audience about not putting extra pressure on themselves. By needing to achieve the highest grades, and picking a major to please their parents and worrying about the high cost of college, students are not allowing themselves to enjoy this journey.

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