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Pressures of College

August 12th, 2009

Student pressure in today’s educational system comes from many different sources. These types of educational pressures can come from family, friends, work, extra-curricular activities and even yourself. People can succeed or fail in today’s educational system depending on how each person takes the pressure. Some take it as a motive to get better grades, and some take it as means of life or death. Pressure can be very dangerous to one’s physical and mental state.

Family pressure usually comes from the parents. Parents pressure their children to get good grades just to see their children have a bright future. Pressure put on children by parents is used to help children, but instead it just hurts them. Parents can sometimes give children the idea that achieving is more important than anything in life. William Zinsser who wrote “College Pressure” says, “They are caught in one of the oldest webs of love and duty and guilt”. Parents would much rather steer their children towards a career of high pay yet children would rather major in a career they like. Parents think that by paying for courses that teach their children how to make money or a profession where they are paid high that their children will never have to worry about their economical state. Zinsser says that, “The pressure on students is severe. They are truly torn. One part of them feels obligated to fulfill their parents’ expectations; after all, their parents are older and presumably wiser. Another part tells them that the expectations that are right for their parents are not right for them”.

Parents never seem to see the danger of the pressures put on children. It hurts the child’s mental state by making them feel like a failure when they fail at an exam. Children feel unloved by their parents when they fail anything at school. Pressure can hurt a child’s physical state because children exhaust themselves studying for exams. For instance, a student may spend up to two straight days studying for a comprehensive final in college. In this instance, students sometimes go to sleep around two or three o’clock in the morning studying for this exam, which in turn, gets them exhausted. Parental pressure can sometimes make a student’s life hard when they are at the same time pressured by their peers.

Peer pressure can be used for the right and wrong reasons in today’s educational system. Peer pressure in college is usually seen between students who want to out do each other in grades. For example, Zinsser says, sometimes one student thinks that the other student is studying more, so the first student stays up nights just to try to make better grades than the other student. Zinsser would see students going off to the library every night after dinner and coming back when it closes at midnight. Students pressure each other by doing more than the other. Students who over achieve tend to make those around them like they are not doing sufficient enough work.

Friends never seem to see the risk of the pressures they put on each other. Students seem to tense up when it comes to competing with their friends. One student wants to show that they are smarter than the other, and don’t care for their own physical state. They don’t seem to care whether they get any sleep, or whether they eat. Friends can sometimes end up fighting over a grade. Peer pressure can make students feel like a grade is more important than their friendship. Even though, students try to get the better part of each other out, it makes other students who don’t have time to do more than the requirements, due to work, feel average.

Work puts pressure on students economically instead of educationally. Students, who live in apartments, need to work so many hours to pay off rent. Some students have credit cards, bills, and car payments that they have to pay each month. A majority of students who cannot get a scholarship or grant typically take out loans to pay for their education at a college. These students frequently have to choose a career that they might not like but makes a lot of money. These students need to choose a career that makes lots of money because they need to pay off loans within a year of their graduation. Students who work part time and go to college full time have a lot of pressure from work because they need to work so many hours yet need so many hours to study. Students who work sometimes find themselves with not much time to study or do homework. For example, at work, students find themselves worrying about schoolwork instead of what they are doing, and in turn students end up making errors. Students who worry about their schoolwork during work end up generally getting fired or quitting from the job.

Employers, who have college students as employees, never see the harm caused by them and college. For example, a student who stays up until two in the morning studying for an important exam in a class ends up wearing him or herself down to where they can barely do the job right. Employers will then see that the student is not doing the job right so the employer fires the student. At some jobs, employers require that an employee notify them one week or two in advance if they will leave early on a certain day or not show up. It is because of this rule that some students feel pressured to stay until their shift is over and then deal with their studies. Work can often lead to students quitting extra curricular activities.

Extra-curricular activities like sports, band, or even theater can put even more pressure on students. For example, soccer practice is two to three days a week and three to four hours a day. Students who play on select soccer teams have to go to practice or they don’t play on the day of the game. When this happens, soccer is no longer fun because the student has a load of homework to do it and only in a certain time to do it in. Just like at work, a student no longer has his/her mind on what they are doing but on college work. When a student sees that they no longer have time to have fun by participating in extra-curricular activities, they decide to quit.

Extra-curricular activities instead of being of a way for a student to release their tensions, becomes another way for students to stress about college. Students want to relax by participating in extra-curricular activities, but can’t because of the worry about their studies. Some extra-curricular activities offer students to become more diverse, but students can’t participate because they have no time to do it. Students, who have little or no time, do not participate in extra-curricular activities because of the pressure they put on themselves as well.

“All these pressures from parental to extra-curricular are intertwined with self-induced pressure”. Students pressure themselves to do their best on tests, homework, projects, and etc. This pressure put on themselves can make a student put out their best or their worst effort. For instance, students will pressure themselves to stay up all night to study for an exam. Finally, when it comes to taking the exam, some students would have put so much pressure on themselves that they end up getting nervous and making dumb mistakes on the test, which in turn makes the student make a low-test score. The consequence of this pressure ends up being even more pressure on the student to do better on the next exam or drop the course in college.

The most harmful type of pressure is self-induced. Students never see the dangers of all these pressures especially self-induced. Students feel that with pressure, they will be able to score higher on a certain exam or certain class. Students never think that the pressure they put on themselves, gets them worn out. Students feel that just because they are young that they can stay up all night, wake up early the next morning, go to school, go to work and later do homework, and not get fatigued.

In conclusion, pressure from family, friends, work, extra-curricular activities, and oneself can severely harm students. Students want to do better and become someone better in life, but sometimes too much pressure can get to a student and end up making them fail. It may be easy to handle one type of pressure but it becomes more difficult when trying to deal with three or more types of pressure at one time. To conclude, during school, students should tend to relax instead of fearing about a grade.
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