Monday, March 25, 2019

Perfectionism + College

I’m in my last semester of college, and I still haven’t gotten over dealing with being a perfectionist over school. It’s something I’ve increasingly struggled with over the last four years, and it’s driven me to the breaking point numerous times. The other day I saw that I got a B on a group project I’d turned in before spring break, and I’ll be honest- I was really upset with myself. Because immediately I started beating myself up- thinking over what I did wrong, what I could have improved on, how I could’ve spent more time on the project. That’s the place I’ve gotten to in college. If it’s not A’s, then it’s not good enough for me. And sure, that might look good on paper- I’m on the Dean’s list, and in the Honor’s Society, just like I’ve been all throughout college. But what that actually transfers to is not having a social life, living for school/work/studying, staying up until 2am every night working on homework. Perfectionism is the thief of joy, and you are your own harshest critic. The truth is that for me perfectionism over my studies is just a form of trying to have control over something in my life. I’ve struggled with failure schemas for years in school- always telling myself I’m not smart, I’m not good enough, believing I have to work twice as hard as everyone else if I want to make the grades. As a senior, down to my last eight weeks in college, I’m working on being okay with taking back a little of my life. The day that I got that B, I spent six hours studying and then decided that the best thing for me was a break, so I went to the movies and got ice cream with a friend. And sure, I could’ve spent another six hours studying, because there will always be more that I could do, I could always invest more time into a project, work harder, study longer, sleep less- but you have to find the balance in life, and know that your grades do not define you. As cliche as that sounds, for people that deal with perfectionism, it can absolutely feel like your grades are a direct reflection of your worth as a person. So here’s the reminder, for anyone that needs to hear it, including myself, that your grades are just a letter or a number. They are not your happiness, they don’t get to make you feel less than, they shouldn’t steal your joy. So work hard, be proud of yourself, go the extra mile, but remember that life is about balance. Don’t get so focused on that end goal of graduation that you forget to enjoy the journey of getting there. 

*Note- today I spent eight hours studying and finished a paper for my capstone class that I’ve spent nearly twenty hours on over the last week. Soooooo, I’m still working on that whole balance/perfectionism thing. 

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