College is a time of major transition. For some, this is the first time they are leaving home and are venturing out into the world without the comforts of their home environment. They are leaving behind their parents, friends, and their rooms. This journey into the unknown can be quite stressful and lonely. For others, college is a time of unburdening the yoke of their environment. There is a sense of excitement of exploring new opportunities in their education, identity and a sense of freedom without parental rules. For many, it's both!
What is a Dialectical Dilemma?
Let us begin by first understanding what dialectics are. Dialectics is a philosophy, a way of thinking or world view by examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find a synthesis.
A dialectical dilemma begins with two forces opposing each other, pulling against one another. Using dialectics, one can find a middle path and synthesize a way that preserves both sides.
Utilizing Dialectics to Balance College Life
After identifying some of the college dilemmas one might face. Let us try to understand how dialectics can solve some of these dilemmas.
Dialectics teach us that:
There is always more than one way to see a situation and more than one way to solve a problem.
Two things that seem like (or are) opposites can both be true.
Honor the truth on both sides of a conflict. This does not mean giving up your values or selling out. Avoid seeing the world in “black-and-white,” “all-or-nothing” ways.
A dialectical outlook can help individuals think, feel, and behave in a balanced way. The central dialectic in DBT is that of acceptance and change. DBT is about finding the balance between acceptance and change and uses dialectics to tease out opposites and see validity of both sides. In short, when we are stuck in a dialectical dilemma, we are viewing the world as black or white.
Freedom vs. Responsibility
With this new sense of freedom comes new responsibilities. Some young adults find that they lack the self discipline to get themselves to class , have a hard time monitoring their homework and making sure they get to sleep at a reasonable time (after a night with friends or binge watching netflix). Once in college, there is no one to remind them what to do. In time, many will develop self control and willpower to handle their new freedoms, while others will struggle with this new sense of freedom.
Friends vs. Self
College is often a place where students make lifelong friends. It is an extraordinarily social environment, with a wide range of diversity allowing students to access many previously unknown social groups. It’s downright fun. At the same time, it is a time in life where on discovers their own sense of self, their likes and dislikes, and often decide how to spend their future.
Indulgence vs. Meaning
Young adulthood is choc full of opportunities to enjoy yourself. Instant gratification is everywhere. And you also have stuff to do. You have steps that you want to take towards your future, and you don’t want to jeopardize that.
In upcoming posts, we will break down each of these dilemmas and discuss how to use dialectics to establish a balance way of life.