Emmanuel college is as competitive or as laid back as you want it to be.
From the social perspective it is very well laiden, helped by the fact that it is quite rich and generous where the money goes, and it is one of those places that believes you can only achieve great things if you have a bit of fun on the side (a bit being an understatement).
Equally Emmanuel "plays the game" very well from the dons' perspective, and quite a few from our college are quite high up in the university food chain. Take medicine for example, we were allocated a supervisor in lent term in such a manner that we knew he was teaching us before he did! One example, an perhaps exceptional, but at least it shows that our college is very willing to try and provide the best supervisors it can find, and won't mind pulling a few strings along the way.
Couple the two together, and you are provided the opportunity to be highly flexible.
Now throw in the desire for our Senior Tutor and other members of the college to produce students who are able to successfully plan, manage and utilise their time.
Add a tiny hint of peer pressure and a dash of self improvement
And you've the character of Emmanuel College: people who do what they want to their heart's content, and yet still manage to more than keep afloat their academia on the side