Coping with Stress in College: A book review

Every year, millions of high school graduates spend the summer before their fall semester of college, preparing to take on a new phase in their lives. Many must tract hundreds of miles away from home to get the education they want or find a job to help pay for the constantly raising tuition fee. With this new phase in life comes added stress of having to deal with a new environment with double the course load of high school classes and added responsibility. While many turn to friends and family for advice, others resort to reading books on the subject of stress and how one should deal with it when starting on their college journey.

Coping with Stress in College by Mark Rowh presents the idea of stress and provides strategies to help students eliminate unnecessary stress that occurs when starting a new chapter in one’s life. The author systematically approaches the topic by first addressing the definition of stress and then addressing how to overcome different forms of stress. In the Foreword of the book, David C. Spendlove, a professor at University of Utah School of Medicine, sums up Rowh’s purpose for writing the book. Because this is the “first real venture into the worlds of adults” for many high school graduates, “stress can cause serious problems.”  In today’s society, “success in college is widely seen as a requirement for a worthwhile career” and therefore, it’s necessary to address the issue of stress (Rowh, ix). By using quotations from qualified specialists and professors, Rowh establishes his credibility and authority over the subject. He uses dogmatism to convince his audience of high schoolers and possibly college students that stress is inevitable when it comes to college, and by using every day jargon to present his argument to his audience, he establishes a connection with his public. With more and more employers looking for better qualified employees, it’s no wonder that students today must deal with more stress than ever before. Rowh presents this subject in an organized way and uses references, dogmatism, and daily jargon to help his audience make a smoother transition in to college life.

Throughout the book, Rowh uses quotes from different professors from various universities and public colleges as well as popular newspapers and scholarly books as support for his stance on the topic of how one should deal with stress. The author states that regardless of which kinds of pressures you’ll feel when first starting your college career, “you are virtually certain to experience stress (3).” In the sentence that follows, Rowh uses a quote from Dr. Sharon Rubin, the dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Salisbury State University which reaffirms Rowh’s original statement about stress and therefore, increases his authenticity on the subject at hand.  Along with Dr. Sharon Rubin, he also refers to James Worsham, a journalism professor from West Virginia, Dr. Sue Bruning, a professor from Kent State University as well as Nancy Slater of Columbia College. Along with using professors from several schools of higher education, Rowh also refers to New York Times and Stress without Distress by Hans Seyle, a “noted physician and stress expert (16).” Using a popular newspaper that has already established its credibility and is known by most Americans, the author gains more credibility for his ideas and stance on stress. By drawing on the credibility of prominent professors and publications, Rowh is able to establish his ground and persuade his audience in a more effective way.

While addressing different subtopics in his book, Rowh uses dogmatism to build his argument for the book. When talking about the different personalities in the “Your Stress Profile,” Rowh states that only two types of personalities exist, Type A or Type B. Refusing to acknowledge that people may not fit into these two types of personalities, Rowh narrows his scope and addresses those who fit the profile he believes exist. Also, Rowh paints professors from different regions of the country and backgrounds with the same brush when stating what they are looking for in student papers. This strategy of reducing his range helps him better present his argument.  By using dogmatism, Rowh is able to better address his audience and allows them to use the information present to make decisions to help reduce stress.

Along with using references and dogmatism, Rowh also uses every day jargon to establish a connection with his teenaged audience. The author refrains from using 5 syllable words to ensure that he reaches a wide range of teenagers. By uses common every day words such as “pressure,” “higher achievers,” “failure,” and many others, he is able to institute a connection with his public. Because most high schools tend to focus less on increasing their range of vocabulary, Rowh makes the extra effort to guarantee that his audience is able to comprehend his argument as simple as it may be.  He also makes references to popular movies among the high school public such as “Friday the 13th” to connect with the audience. By using every day jargon, Rowh is able to “talk” to his audience about an important issue and is assured that they will be able to understand.

While stress is a subject that all age groups must deal with, college students are more susceptible to stress due to the sudden change in environment and responsibility. By using quotes throughout Coping with Stress in College from well-known professors and specialists, he is able to build his credibility and gain the trust of his audience. By presenting his argument using dogmatism, he narrows the board topic and addresses issue involving stress that most college student must deal with. Mark Rowh also presents the idea of stress in a simple manner by using commonplace verbiage to help teens deal with stress when committing themselves to a journey of hardships. Overall, Rowh’s use of references, dogmatism, and every day jargon helps convince the audience of his authority on the subject and ensures that his argument is well perceived by his adolescent audience.

Works Cited

Rowh, Mark. “Coping with Stress in College: Everything Students Need to Know to Manage the Pressures of College Life.” New York: The College Board, 1989. Print.


2 responses to “Coping with Stress in College: A book review

  1. I think your review is very well written and gives a good overview of the topics and arguements discussed in the book. You also did a great job discussing the rhetoric style and tone used. It sounds like a very interesting book to read that relates to many of our lives.

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