5 July 2011
Reading Response # 1
In his essay “College Pressures” William Zinsser shares his advice for students who bring their problems to him and his wishes for them. As the Master of students at Yale Zinsser wants his students to keep in mind “…that the road ahead is a long one and that it will have more unexpected turns than they think” (463). The essence of Zinsser’s argument is that the journey through college in preparation for a career might not play out as the student initially planned. He advises them to not draw a hard-line in the sand when mapping out their future. Change of college majors, career fields, life expectations are not to be fear but expected and welcomed.1 Zinsser has many wishes for his students, wishes that they find “…some release from the clammy grip of the future” “…a chance to savor…their education…” and “…to trip and fall, to learn that defeat is as instructive as victory and is not the end of the world” (Zinsser 463). Zinsser believes that students should free themselves to enjoy their time in college. Being a once in a life time experience, college should be a place to explore and find oneself , opposed to merely a rung on the ladder to the career of their dreams. His wishes are that lesser emphasis is placed on life after college, and more on exploring all that college has to offer. Instead of the relentless course load to ensure top honors at graduation, class in the arts would broaden horizons and perhaps even reveal a passion yet unknown to the student themselves.
The points made in William Zinsser’s essay are agreeable on many fronts. The advice given to overly stressed college students burdened by their aspirations is relevant to this day. My own view is that the time after high school and entering the work force is a vital period that
should not be a dizzying blur at the end. This period can be a time of discovery and reflection into what type...