Focusing On Balance Rather Than Perfectionism
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Focusing On Balance Rather Than Perfectionism

Nobody's perfect, even when we try to be as college students.

Focusing On Balance Rather Than Perfectionism
Jon Tyson / Unsplash

This is a response to College Students Are Majoring In Perfectionism, It’s Slowly Killing Us

It doesn’t matter what you’re majoring in or planning to do after graduation, you’ve probably felt it before. The feeling of wondering whether or not you’re achieving enough or how you can do better in your personal, professional, or academic life. This feeling of pressure from college hustle culture to do the most with the limited amount of time you have before entering the “real world.” I can definitely say that I have felt the pressure of perfectionism before and agree with the author that college students feel the need to reach different standards established by higher education as well as ourselves, our goals and ideals for what we accomplish at this point in our lives and in the future.

Although I did not relate to every example addressed in the article above, I was able to reflect on my own experience with perfectionism as a college student. As a first-generation college student, I have felt the desire to impress my family and friends with my involvement and educational achievements. Being the first person in your family to pursue this staple of academic achievement means wanting to do your best and strive to be perfect - for you, for them, and for your children in the future. However, as I’m the person who is paying for my education and who chose to pursue higher education in the first place, this perfectionism I have felt also comes from the responsibility that I have developed over time. I’ve had the mindset that if I’m paying for my college education, I better work for it and make it worth it. During my first two years of college, I packed something into every minute of my day to ensure that I was doing my best to achieve perfection in every aspect of my college life. This isn’t a realistic or healthy mindset, though. Sacrificing your well-being and mental health in the process of having the “perfect” life deemed by college culture will only make things worse.

Freeing this idea of perfectionism means simply doing your best, which realistically is not perfect all of the time. Sometimes we can only do what we have the time and ability to do. For example, if you have three exams on the same day, you may want to pull an all-nighter the day before to study as much as you can. I hate to break it to you, but staying up for 24 hours is not a good or healthy idea. From my perspective, striving for balance in your life is the best thing you can do, for yourself and for your standard of success. In this case, establishing which exam you feel the least confident about and studying the most for that subject, taking breaks between study sessions, and not cramming the night before is key to succeeding in the exams.

Not to quote the amazing Hannah Montana, but… nobody’s perfect. Whether it’s completing homework assignments, studying for an important exam, socializing with friends, or leading an organization on campus, I’ve learned that success is made by balance, not perfectionism. Once you find a healthy balance between your own needs and college commitments, you’ll find that even though every aspect of your life isn’t exactly perfect that’s okay.

It’s okay if you aren’t perfect because no one is. It may look like it, based on their social media accounts as the author noted, but really no one is. Even me, I know, a true shock. If you feel like you need support with anxiety surrounding your academic or personal performance, I agree with the author that seeing a therapist or counselor on campus is a great step in the right direction. This semester, I registered for weekly meetings with an academic advisor, who has consistently helped me establish a routine where I can enjoy my free time, study in the most efficient way I can, and accept that my grades and academic performance are not always going to be perfect. By prioritizing balance this semester, I can say that I was able to achieve all of my goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the semester, including earning a 4.0. If I can do it, so can you.

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