Aesthetics Wiki

Chaotic Academia is an aesthetic that involves haphazard routines, messy habits, unusual or banned literature, and studying with a passion. This subtype of Academia promotes the acceptance of messy or seemingly uncomposed traits some students may have.


Chaotic Academia can be defined as:

  • An academia movement that welcomes the disconnection between appearance and personality. The aim is to normalize and humanize the academic aesthetic and reclaim it from the elitism of days gone by.
  • This aesthetic intends to focus on the process of learning instead of stressing over looks and trying to perfect one's secondary aspects, like fashion.
  • Chaotic Academia acknowledges the pretentiousness of classic academia, subtly mocking it at times. Nevertheless, as an academic subculture, it participates in it as well. Chaotic academics know this, and embraces it.
  • From the viewpoint of those who embrace Chaotic Academia, there may be an order to their chaos, with many claiming to have things organized in their mind despite their work appearing to be completely scattered all over the place. If someone were to "reorganize" their stuff for them, it may actually be detrimental, as the Chaotic Academic may not be able to adapt to the new set up, which is completely alien to their personal sensibilities.


Chaotic Academia originated with the text post from Tumblr user chiafett-main saying, "Chaotic academia is 1.) Intense obsessions that last maybe two weeks but consume your soul 2.) Spacing out in class but loving to learn 3.) Swearing and slang while discussing deep academic topics".[1] This was posted on September 27, 2019, at the same time as the popularization of Dark Academia and the aesthetic variations being built off of this, such as with Light Academia.


The idea is to accept and stop judging the less visually pleasing or perfectly performed tasks and processes. Unlike some other genres, it doesn't inherently agree to follow the rules and implies some visual or behavioral variety from the all-accepted idea of the prim and proper academics. Be yourself, have fun, and enjoy studying. For some, the floor is the best place to study, people can lack time management, scrawl poetry on a napkin, and not in a notebook, use vandalism for help on an exam, and have anarchism quotes all over notes. And it's fine!

Pinterest Boards[]



Chaotic academia books fall under 2 categories: banned literature, and books that weren't banned but are still chaotic (in a good way) in their own right. For instance, Ella Minnow Pea wasn't widely banned, but as the book goes along, the author stops using certain letters of the alphabet.

Banned literature[]

Listed by book name in alphabetical order:

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Lord Horror by David Britton
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Rage by Stephen King
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Stowe
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

Literature that wasn't banned[]

Listed by book name in alphabetical order:

  • All the Young Dudes by MsKingBean89
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  • S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
  • The Familiar (Series by Mark Z. Danielewski)
  • The Tunnel by William H. Gass
  • The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric


  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Stephen King
  • Sally Rooney
  • Alice Walker
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Maya Angelou
  • Jane Austen
  • James Baldwin
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Franz Kafka
  • Toni Morrison
  • H. G. Wells

Film and Television[]

  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Heathers (1988)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Takin' Over The Asylum (1994)
  • My So-Called Life (1994—1995)
  • Dangerous Minds (1995)
  • Dawson's Creek (1998—2003)
  • Rushmore (1998)
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  • Wonder Boys (2000)
  • Igby Goes Down (2002)
  • The Robert Langdon Trilogy (2006—2016)
  • Primer (2004)
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  • Doctor Who (1963-1996/2005-present)
  • Horrible Histories (2009-2023)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • The Imitation Game (2014)
  • Cunk on Christmas (2016)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019)
  • The End of the F***ing World (2017—2019)
  • Forever (2018)
  • Cunk on Britain (2018)
  • The Richard Game (2018)
  • Nancy Drew (2019—2023)
  • Enola Holmes (2020)
  • Druk (2020)
  • History of Swear Words (2021)
  • Only Murders in the Building (2021—present)
  • Cunk on Earth (2022)
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (2023)





  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Cavetown
  • Donovan
  • girl in red
  • Hozier
  • Kate Bush
  • Lorde
  • Ludovico Einaudi
  • Marko Saaresto
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Mother Mother
  • Robert Smith
  • Sharon den Adel
  • Siouxsie Sioux
  • The Neighbourhood
  • Yann Tiersen



The haphazard essence of this genre is primarily defined by self-explanatory actions, or so-called “inconsistent habits” that present the person as inattentive, lacking composure and overall imperfect. Below are a couple of such instances:

  • Handing in homework at the last minute
  • Accidentally tearing or dirtying school uniform
  • Always losing your pens
  • Spacing out in class
  • Study parties at 1 am
  • Fidgeting around with supplies
  • Having absolutely no sleep schedule
  • Scattering papers across the desk or floor
  • Sneaking out of school or skipping class
  • Being smart, but having absolutely no common sense
  • Taking a "quick break", then waking up in the middle of the night
  • Writing too many unorganized and uncoordinated annotations
  • Spending more time procrastinating revision, then actually revising
  • Sleeping late every night due to never-ending thoughts
  • Choosing to train home alone when friends were easily accessible
  • Putting your feet up on the desk while you think with your pen behind your ear
  • Going online to get motivated, but getting distracted and scrolling for hours

Another kind, however, represents the playful sense of wonder and discovery in the academic setting. This way, one doesn't dissolve in the boring flow of new exams and assignments, brightening up the tedious study routine. Here are a few cases of chaotic behavior:

  • Performing rituals in class with books and other things
  • Food fights
  • Reciting useless facts
  • Reading banned books
  • Leaving annotations in the margins of library books (bonus points if they're memes)
  • Doodling on walls and covering them in sticky notes
  • Discussing conspiracies about Shakespeare with your friends
  • Collecting foreign books in a language you don't understand
  • Swearing and slang while discussing deep academic topics
  • Using a rubber band to tie your hair back
  • Drinking alcohol from teacups
  • Going out during a break in the rain deliberately to get wet
  • Sneaking into the library after hours to "borrow" restricted fiction
  • Standing on desks
  • Aggressively mouthing lyrics to blaring music while studying
  • Sneaking into restricted areas
  • Having color-coded notes, but the code keeps changing
  • Setting random things on fire in science
  • Making up your own codes and languages and writing rude notes with them
  • Playing Rush E on the piano in band class (or at least attempting to)
  • Stealing school property, although this is discouraged


The style doesn't have to be strictly formal and proper. The uniform should be fun! You can mess with a shirt a little, altering it to one's liking, and cut and fix it in different places. Convenience and comfort are a priority. Anything school-related or quick and easy will do. Be yourself!

Some of these examples are:

  • Button downs open over logo tee shirts
  • Messy eyeliner
  • Heavy boots
  • Mismatched socks
  • The same clothes every day
  • Patched or torn clothes
  • Too many cardigans and sweaters
  • School uniform worn incorrectly; neckties around heads, ripped stockings
  • Large blazers
  • Sandals or crocs
  • Jeans
  • Untied laces
  • Leg warmers
  • Oversized coats