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					Unit 4

Text A

Pre-reading Activities

1. As you listen to the passage, fill in as much information as you can about Annette's
Friday evening:
During the coming month:
Next term:
In the fall:
Next spring:

2. How did you feel while you were listening to Annette? What was it like trying to
keep up with her? How do students like Annette make you feel?

College Pressures

William Zinsser

I am master of Branford College at Yale. I live on the campus and know the students
well. (We have 485 of them.) I listen to their hopes and fears — and also to their
stereo music and their piercing cries in the dead of night ("Does anybody care?").
They come to me to ask how to get through the rest of their lives.
Mainly I try to remind them that the road ahead is a long one and that it will have
more unexpected turns than they think. There will be 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.
What I wish for all students is some release from the grim grip of the future. I wish
them a chance to enjoy each segment of their education as an experience in itself and
not as a tiresome requirement in preparation for the next step. I wish them the right to
experiment, to trip and fall, to learn that defeat is as educational as victory and is not
the end of the world.
My wish, of course, is naive. One of the few rights that America does not proclaim is
the right to fail. Achievement is the national god, worshipped in our media — the
million-dollar athlete, the wealthy executive — and glorified in our praise of
possessions. In the presence of such a potent state religion, the young are growing up
I see four kinds of pressure working on college students today: economic pressure,
parental pressure, peer pressure, and self-induced pressure. It's easy to look around for
bad guys — 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. But there are no bad guys, only victims.
Today it is not unusual for a student, even one who works part time at college and full
time during the summer, to have accumulated $5,000 in loans after four years —
loans that the student must start to repay within one year after graduation (and
incidentally, not all these loans are low-interest, as many non-students believe).
Encouraged at the commencement ceremony to go forth into the world, students are
already behind as they go forth. How can they not feel under pressure throughout
college to prepare for this day of reckoning? Women at Yale are under even more
pressure than men to justify their expensive education to themselves, their parents,
and society. For although they leave college superbly equipped to bring fresh
leadership to traditionally male jobs, society hasn't yet caught up with this fact.
Along with economic pressure goes parental pressure. Inevitably, the two are deeply
intertwined. I see students taking premedical courses with joyless determination. They
go off to their labs as if they were going to the dentist. It saddens me because I know
them in other corners of their life as cheerful people.
"Do you want to go to medical school?" I ask them.
"I guess so," they say, without conviction, or, "Not really."
"Then why are you going?"
"My parents want me to be a doctor. They're paying all this money and..."
Peer pressure and self-induced pressure are also intertwined, and they begin from the
very start of freshman year. "I had a freshman student I'll call Linda," one instructor
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."
The story is almost funny — except that it's not. It's a symptom of all the pressures
put together. When every student thinks every other student is working harder and
doing better, the only solution is to study harder still. I see students going off to the
library every night after dinner and coming back when it closes at midnight. I wish
they could sometimes forget about their peers and go to a movie. I hear the rattling of
typewriters in the hours before dawn. I see the tension in their eyes when exams are
approaching and papers are due: "Will I get everything done?"
Probably they won't. They will get sick. They will sleep. They will oversleep. They
will bug out.
I've painted too grim a portrait of today's students, making them seem too solemn.
That's only half of their story; the other half is that these students are nice people, and
easy to like. They're quick to laugh and to offer friendship. They're more considerate
of one another than any student generation I've ever known. If I've described them
primarily as driven creatures who largely ignore the joyful side of life, it's because
that's where the problem is — not only at Yale but throughout American education.
It's why I think we should all be worried about the values that are nurturing a
generation so fearful of risk and so goal-obsessed at such an early age.
I tell students that there is no one "right" way to get ahead — that each of them is a
different person, starting from a different point and bound for a different destination. I
tell them that change is healthy and that people don't have to fit into pre-arranged slots.
One of my ways of telling them is to invite men and women who have achieved
success outside the academic world to come and talk informally with my students
during the year. I invite heads of companies, editors of magazines, politicians,
Broadway producers, artists, writers, economists, photographers, scientists, historians
— a mixed bag of achievers.
I ask them to say a few words about how they got started. The students always assume
that they started in their present profession and knew all along that it was what they
wanted to do. But in fact, most of them got where they are by a circuitous route, after
many side trips. The students are startled. They can hardly conceive of a career that
was not preplanned. They can hardly imagine allowing the hand of God or chance to
lead them down some unforeseen trail.
(1069 words)

New Words

n. the grounds of a university, college or school; a university 大学校园,学校校园;

a. (of voices, sounds, etc.) very sharp, esp. in an unpleasant way (声音等)尖厉的,

vi. make a hole in or through (sth.) with a sharp point 刺穿,戳穿

ad. it may be supposed; probably 假定;可能

* presume
v. believe sth. to be true without direct proof but with some feeling of being certain;
suppose (没有根据地)相信;推测

n. the place where a dead person is buried 坟墓
a. serious or solemn in manner; (of a situation) serious and worrying 严肃的,庄严

n. 1. 严肃,庄严;严重
2. 重力;地心引力

n. a firm hold; control 紧握;控制
vt. 1. take a very tight hold (of) 握紧,紧握
2. take hold of the attention or feelings of 吸引;引起

* segment
n. a part of sth. 部分

n. arrangement for a future event 准备

a. rich 富有的

vt. praise highly 颂扬,赞颂

n. great fame, honor, and admiration 光荣;荣誉

a. powerful, strong, forceful or effective 强有力的;有权势的;有效力的

caused or brought about by oneself 自己导致的

* induce
vt. lead or cause (sb.) to do sth.; persuade or influence (sb.) to do sth. 导致;劝使,

* incidentally
ad. by the way 顺便说一句

n. 1. (AmE) a ceremony at which university or college students are given their
degrees or diplomas (美)毕业典礼;学位授予典礼
2. beginning of sth. 开始

v. begin; start 开始;着手

n. 典礼,仪式

commencement ceremony
(AmE) a college or university graduation ceremony (美)毕业典礼
n. settlement of an account or a bill; (fig.) punishment 结帐;(喻)算帐,惩罚

vt. 1. calculate; add up (an amount, cost, etc.) 计算;算出(数量、费用等)
2. consider, regard 认为,把…看作

day of reckoning
(a Biblical reference) the time when one must eventually be punished for what one
has done wrong (源自《圣经》)清算日,最后审判日

vt. prepare (sb.) for dealing with a particular situation by providing necessary tools,
education, etc.; suply (sb./ sth. with what is needed for a particular purpose) (智力、

ad. 不可必免地;必然发生地

a. which cannot be avoided or prevented from happening; certain to happen 不可避

a. joined tightly together; very closely connected 互相缠结的,缠绕在一起的

a. preparing for the study of medicine 医学预科的

* dentist
n. a doctor trained to take care of people's teeth 牙医

a. in good spirit; causing a happy feeling 兴高采烈的;使人愉快的

n. a firm opinion or belief 深信,确信;把握

n. 住在同室的人,室友

n. 打字机
* bug
vt. 1. (AmE) (infml) trouble (sb.) continually (美俚)烦扰,纠缠
2. (infml) fit with a secret listening apparatus (口)在…装窃听器
n. (AmE) a tiny insect, esp. one that causes damage; (infml) a fault or difficulty (美)

a. careful not to hurt or trouble others; thoughtful 考虑周到的;替人着想的

a. afraid, anxious 惧怕的,忧虑的

a. extremely eager to realize one's goals 一心要实现目标的

a. planned or prepared in advance 预先准备好的

vt. 1. plan in advance; prepare 安排,准备
2. set in good or pleasing order 整理;排列

* slot
n. 1. a place or position in a schedule, list or series (口)(在机构、名单、程序等
2. a narrow opening in a tool or machine 狭长孔;狭槽

ad. 非正式地;不拘礼节地

n. an expert in economics 经济学家

a mixed bag
a group of people or things of different kinds and different qualities (人或物的)混

a. indirect 迂回的,绕行的

n. 1. 环行;环行道
2. 电路;线路
a. 1. 环行的,圆形的
2. 循环的

n. a path, often through a forest or across rough ground (荒野中的)小径,小道

Phrases and Expressions

in the dead of night
in the quietest part of the night 夜深人静之时

get through
complete successfully; manage to live through (a difficult experience or period of
time) 完成;消磨,度过(时间)

right now
immediately; at this moment 立刻,马上

in itself
considered as a complete thing or experience, without thinking of effects,
consequences, etc. 本身,实质上

in the presence of sb.
in the place where sb. is; with sb. there 在某人面前,当着某人的面

work on
affect; influence 对…起作用;影响

go forth (into)
set out 出发

under pressure
influenced by need or necessity; suffering stress 被催逼;在压力下

put together
(used after a noun or nouns referring to a group of people or things) combined; in total

bug out
(AmE sl.) become mentally unbalanced (美俚)烦恼,困惑

be considerate of/to/toward sb.
    pay attention to sb. 's needs, wishes, or feelings 替某人着想,体贴某人

    be fearful of
    be afraid of 惧怕

    be bound for
    intending to go to; going to 准备到…去;开往

    fit into
    be the right size or shape for; be suitable for 与…相符,与…相适应

    all along
    all the time; from the beginning 一直,始终;从一开始就

    conceive of
    think of 构想出;设想

    Proper Names

    William Zinsser

    Branford College




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