Although the fascination of learning is one which provides a great deal of excitement and motivation to help see a student through the challenging years of study, there are a great many responsibilities and expectations, also, which are placed upon the student.
Most students, like myself, are not only grappling with numerous responsibilities (many of them new), but also with certain, more personal -- if universal -- changes in psychological and emotional states which are common enough in those who in their college years.
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The student's life is not a happy one because of the constant tension between personal and scholastic responsibilities and how this tension impacts on the simultaneous emotional and intellectual growth of the student.
A student must maintain a tight schedule, with each class requiring a substantial amount of out-of-class time to be devoted to thought and study for the particular class. In my case, not only do the classes which are requirements outside of my major field of study often seem obtrusive with their work-loads, they also seem obtrusive because they interest me!
This means that I must learn to conserve my energy to some extent and not chase off on every interesting tangent that I encounter during my readings.
If I stumble across an interesting fact in Art History, say the "Art Noveau" movement and begin to read about some of its most celebrated artists and critics, I truly do begin to get "lost" in this spontaneous study, which can detract from my official studies in other areas.
All in all, I would say that reading, at all, has become, for me as a student, an act of study and work most times. It is difficult for me to even read a newspaper without bringing analytical study to the process.
In other words, the constant bombardment of new information and the constant devotion to study seem to make everything a "model" or a "paradigm" and sometimes it seems difficult to turn off the "student" brain and just live life.
Another difficult aspect of being a student is economic. The time that one must devote to study is so vast that earning an income becomes problematic.
Because you are likely to be poor when you are a student, one has the added pressure of worrying about an unexpected expense. Also, socializing with people who are not, themselves, students becomes difficult.
If one of my older friends or relatives who have already completed school ask me to go golfing or bowling or even to a movie, I must make two checks: one to see if I have time, and usually, I don't -- the other to see if I have money -- and usually, I don't. So, the idea that people view a student as someone with a lot of free time to carry on and party strikes me as a bit silly.
However, many students, themselves, seem to belive that they should be spending the majority of their time partying and carrying on. This is another fact which tends to make a student's life unpleasant.
When you are not feeling the pressure to be an intellectual about everything up to and including the latest TV commercial you saw, you are expected to be some sort of raging party-animal, out until dawn with your friends.
In reality, those people I know who believe this and try to live it wind up with so many problems and deficiencies that I would certainly say that the myth of the student's leisure time is one of the most destructive myths out there and being with or around people who want to try to believe in it and live it is very unpleasant most of the time.
As a student, you have very little power in the off-campus world. Your time is not your own; your money is not your own. Even your own thoughts, it seems, are not your own.
What little personal time you do manage to snare for yourself often turns to questions in your mind like: "What good is all of this education if I won't be able to find a job when I am finished?"
If you take a look around at the headlines and the state of the economy and the price of gas and the rest -- you start to wonder if putting yourself into debt to get an education is really worth the effort. And then you realize you are worrying about things that are really problems that you shouldn't have to deal with until after you graduate.
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