In deep water: University students’ challenges in the processes of self-formation, survival or flight

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Initiating, maintaining and finishing a higher learning line of study can be challenging and stressful for many students. After all, students are pursuing a new academic and professional habitus, which they cannot embody unless they engage themselves fully in the subject, in the problematic dilemmas and the (often) conflicting knowledge within the field of study and undergo processes of formation. But is it really so? On the basis of observations of and interviews with psychology students, this chapter will challenge these academic expectations and explore students’ concrete experiences of being in deep water. Students are challenged for many different reasons. Some relate to the subject matter and the processes of formation. Other reasons relate to performance and competition strategies in the pursuit of high grades. The article discusses how we can differentiate between habitus culturing involvement in the field of study and problematic types of student involvement in a complex field of unhealthy stress, competition in the light of current societal discourses, processes of formation and the pursuit of recognition from important others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducational Dilemmas : A Cultural Psychological Perspective
EditorsLuca Tateo
Number of pages13
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781138125605
ISBN (Electronic)9781315101095
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesCultural Dynamics of Social Representation

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