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Amanda Mosqueda

Professor Beadle

ENGL 115

5 October 2017

The Monstrous Aspects

College is a space considered to be monstrous due to the feelings of stress, anxiety, and

depression that it invokes as a result of the massive expenses that college brings, as well as the

immense amount of responsibilities it requires. This justifies why college can be viewed as

monstrous in addition to exposing people’s fears of being unsuccessful and reveals their values

of education. These consequences are real, modern issues which author Chuck Klosterman,

discusses in his article “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead”, author

Howard Wolosky in his article, “Public College Expenses Skyrocketing”, and author William R.

Beardslee, in his article "The Effects of Poverty on the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral

Health of Children and Youth: Implications for Prevention.". College may have negative aspects;

however, some may argue that this space allows students to gain an education and provides them

with many beneficial opportunities. Although, these factors appear beneficial, the detrimental

features of a college space are outweighed.

College can be perceived as a monstrous space for students due to the multitude of

expenses they are charged with. Author Howard Wolosky addresses the massive costs and states

”Tuition at four-year public colleges and universities has increased” within recent years, that will

affect the “approximately nine million students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities

each year” (Wolosky 1-3). Students must pay for tuition which can be very expensive in order to

enroll in their classes as well as additional class expenses that are required. There are certain
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online programs students are compelled to use in order to complete certain assignments or

homework; and these programs may require registration fees. It is also necessary in certain

courses to purchase textbooks; it is common a professor will ask their students to obtain multiple.

These expenses are all monstrous and are unlike other expenses we may indulge in throughout

our lives. For instance, an expense such as a car results in automatic satisfaction whereas tuition

and book fees do not necessarily invoke materialistic pleasure or genuine excitement. Another

fee that some students like myself are obligated to pay are housing charges which are pricy and

add up quickly. In connection to housing charges, it is mandatory for students who dorm to

purchase a meal plan. These charges can cause fear for students because they worry that they

will not be able to make the payments. The novel Understanding Rhetoric, discusses the idea

that “We trust certain kinds of people more than others… because they are well informed about

the subject at hand” (Losh, Alexander, K. Cannon, and Z. Cannon 46). Accordingly, my own

encounters allow my claim that college can be a monstrous space to be more credible. As a

college student, I can relate to these problems; for instance many out of district students like

myself are not capable of commuting to school due to being long distant residents, so we are

obligated to live in student housing. From my own experiences, I can understand how

challenging it is to afford the multiple fees without the help of substantial financial aid.

Thousands of students struggle with these payments resulting in stress and anxiety, thus relating

to the idea that the monstrous aspects of college reveal the values of education. Students worry

about not being able to afford their bills because they value education and this stress negatively

affects that.

Stress is common among many college students which supports the monstrous

accusations of a college space. Grades are one of the number one contributors of stress and it is
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challenging to maintain a high-grade point average. Some students are enrolled in many units

therefore, more content to learn, more assignments to complete, more materials to purchase, and

more tests to study for. All aspects cause students to stress and experience fears of not being

successful. Students are concerned that they may be spending significant amounts of money all

to fail their classes. There is a significant increase in the amount of responsibilities people gain

during their transition into college which can be perceived as monstrous towards its opponents,

students. For example, an increase in the amount of homework that is assigned, students must

pay bills, they may get a job and essentially, they are all on their own. These are all important

responsibilities that can cause feelings of anxiety due to fear of not meeting deadlines, not being

able to afford bills, and not being able to manage school and work. This topic can relate to

Klosterman’s idea that “…zombies neatly encapsulate our fears and anxieties about modern life”

(Klosterman 40). These negative aspects of the college space are hidden by students which

zombies can represent to bring reality into a new light. Concerns of not meeting payment

deadlines or passing classes are modern life fears that college can invoke.

Another factor that supports the claim that college can be considered a monstrous space is

depression. Depression has been an outcome in a large percentage of college students. One

explanation is students struggle with transitioning into college. It can be very challenging for

them to adapt to a new routine, new surroundings, and new obstacles that students are faced

with. Most students are not locals and therefore their relationships become long distant which is

a leading basis to depression. Students may need some time or assistance getting to adjust to the

new sense of independence that is gained in college. Independence is not inherently monstrous

however, it can be a frightening new sense of freedom; leaving students to miss their family,

friends, and familiar surroundings causing them to be homesick. This can lead to students
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experiencing feelings of loneliness which then results in depression. They may isolate

themselves, participate in unsafe choices such as drug use or other illegal activities, or lose

motivation in school which can cause their grades to drop. These are all effects are symptoms of

depression. The most monstrous outcome of depression that could result in is suicide.

A negative aspect of the space of a college is the high impaction levels. Impaction is

another factor of stress due to the fact that students pay thousands of dollars yet are still limited

to the classes that are available to them due to the high attendance rates. The unreliableness of

enrollment causes students to experience anxiety due to the lack of confidence that they will be

able to take the courses they desire. Many students are placed on waiting lists which is a huge

inconvenience. Another problem caused by impaction other than full classrooms are limited

parking which therefore means limited resources for students due to over crowdedness.

Some results of a college space have a connection with the concepts explained in the

novel Understanding Rhetoric. Author Elizabeth Losh states that “Different identities also

influence how I see the world” (Losh, et al. 123). This connects to the fact that college can alter a

student’s identity. If this occurs, Losh implies that they will gain a different perspective on life,

usually because of the monstrous circumstances they develop a negative view. They may have

lower self-esteem, have a negative appearance such as more provocative, neglect their hygiene,

or become careless. Monstrous spaces can also change a person’s tone causing them to be more

pessimistic and less confident.

College can be evaluated as a monstrous space due to the negative outcomes that it is

linked to such as stress, anxiety, and depression which result from the many expenses as well as

the responsibilities college requires. These many issues linked to college can connect to author

Chuck Klosterman’s statement “…the zombie is a metaphor for our modern, task-filled world, in
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which the problems we face seem to multiply faster than we can solve them” (Klosterman 40).

As a fellow college student I can perceive a connection to Klosterman’s statements, that the fees

we are charged with, the endless homework that is assigned, the tasks of everyday errands, the

responsibility of a job are all overwhelming; and can seem never-ending. The modern fears of

being unsuccessful and the values of education are made visible through this space.
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Works Cited

Beardslee, R. William "The Effects of Poverty on the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral

Health of Children and Youth: Implications for Prevention." The American Psychologist. 67.4

(2012): 284. Web.

Losh, Elizabeth M. Alexander, Jonathan. Cannon, Kevin. Cannon, Zander.Understanding

Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing. 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin's, Macmillan Learning. 2017.

Boston, MA

Hoffman, Andrew J. and Chuck Klosterman. Monsters: a Bedford Spotlight Reader.My

Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead. Bedford/St. Martin's, a Macmillan

Education Imprint, 2016. Boston, MA

Saad, Lydia. "Financial Anxiety Is Prevalent Among Americans, Even Affluents;

Retirement Savings Is Top Concern, but Tied with College Expenses as Parents' Top Worry."

Gallup Poll News Service (2007): Gallup Poll News Service, May 7, 2007. Web.

Wolosky, H. (1996). Public college expenses skyrocketing. The Practical Accountant,

29(11), 12.