Life is hard for a perfectionist, and it only gets harder if it keeps itself up.
There is such little room for a perfectionist to mess up, and college is full of mess ups. That's why no one should expect themselves to keep entertaining the thought of perfection past high school. You can always chase it and never reach it, or you can work as hard as you can and get exactly where you want to be.
I was a perfectionist my entire life.
People always criticized me for it and said it would come back to bite me later. Of course, I never believed them because it worked out in my favor. I was getting where I needed to be and all the self-discipline is what I assumed got me there. Fast-forwarding to the present, they were right. It did come back to bite me. Actually, it is biting me.
I was setting myself up for failure all that time and I ignored it. I was only after perfection up until college because it wasn't that hard to obtain. I didn't have to study and I had time for my friends. But then things got harder out of nowhere and I was not prepared at all to shift the standards I had for myself.
As a perfectionist, I constantly compared myself to other people and made sure I was doing better than the next guy, or at least just as well. That didn't work for long. I stopped competing with others because I learned that no one is worth beating if they aren't even chasing the same goal. And that helped me learn to quit competing against myself, too, because we're on the same team.
Freshman year of college, I almost pulled it off. The perfectionist in me nearly won. Then I started reasoning with myself and I figured out I had limits to what I could handle and I stopped pushing myself past them.
There are sacrifices that have to be made in reaching success.
College is like the triangle you can only pick two things from. On it might be grades, free time, and work, and you have to give up free time to have a job and good grades. A perfectionist will try so hard to get all three, and they may be able to at first. But it catches up with you.
Then there are other times where you're lucky to get one piece of the triangle. It's a game of going back and forth and testing patience in the pursuit of greatness.
I may end up with an "A" in a class because I only studied for that one exam, and in return, I might fail a quiz that same week. It would have bothered me to not evenly distribute my time and to not do perfectly on all of it, but it's actually OK. And the job that may take up way too much of my time will look really good on my resume and the time I didn't have to enjoy myself won't matter later.
And as bad as they seem at one particular moment, sacrifices are worth it in the end. Some things just carry more weight than others and the further I've gotten, the more I've figured it out. And I just try to remember that when I reach the point where I've gotten exactly where I wanted to be, no one is going to ever know what I had to give up to get there. And there's even a chance I won't remember either.
As long as I'm actually trying as hard as I can and I learn from every hiccup and mistake, things will work out the way they should.