The Juggling Act: The Contradiction of Student Life

So, you got your exam results and you’re off to college (well done on that, by the way) but now the student-life with all its razzling-dazzling hoopla awaits you.  You may be momentarily overcome by the glitz and glamour but soon enough the dust will settle and you’ll begin to realise that the student life is a strange dichotomy of contradictions. You will be presented with such conflicting ideas your identity may become a splurge as you attempt to burn that metaphorical candle at both ends. However, fret not; I am here to lay things on the line for you.

Contradiction #1: Be Curious vs Be Practical:

The best characteristic that will serve you well in starting your academic and student life it is that of curiosity. Being curious will help you in your classes, make friends, orient yourself to your new surroundings and explore new interests. By asking questions, challenging the assumptions of yourself and others, and chasing every possibility that comes your way, you’ll set yourself up to be in new and interesting scenarios that could very well shape your future.

However, blindingly following your curiosity is a slap in the face to the realities of day to day living, the practical way of living. Now that the home comforts are gone; you need to fend for yourself. To cook, to clean and importantly to plan and budget! It is nearly inevitable in your time at college that at some point you will be flat-out broke, it happens (perhaps by being too curious) but planning ahead and learning some self-restraint are important traits to learn.

So, student life becomes a daily struggle between pursuing new interests and possibilities and the realization that if you do decide to partake in whatever ludicrous opportunity comes your way you may very well be homeless come rent day.

Contradiction #2: Be Cliché vs Be Real:

College may offer you the only time where it is somewhat socially acceptable to become a pompous cliché. We’ve all seen the college clichés on TV, the surfer dudes playing Frisbee, the existential poet smoking in the corner wearing a black turtleneck, the geeks who have LAN parties and anime festivals, the studious up and comers of the student body. There are countless different versions out there, perhaps even college specific ones.

However, everyone knows that if you spend enough time with people in each group that they are not as homogenous as they may appear from an outside perspective. People, for the most part, are real. What I mean is that when you strip away the glossy veneer of a person’s outward persona we are all pretty much the same, or rather you’d be surprised with how much you may have in common with a person who appears to be completely different.

When you are first settling in, college life may still appear to be fraught with the same social tensions and hierarchies that would be more reminiscent of secondary school life but you should bear in mind that differences are more celebrated on campus than in schools. As such you need a greater understanding of how people choose to define themselves which at many times may seem contradictory to you.


These are just two prevalent contradictions that exist in many colleges. By being aware of them you may have an easier transition in to college life, and making students life easier is what we do here at examtime. Sign-up for free and check back here for more help and tips in the future.


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