Overachiever, perfectionist, type-A, nit-picker, stickler… whatever you want to call it. I’ve been an overachiever for all my life. I can’t quite remember the first time I decided to go above and beyond, but it was probably two weeks before my due date when I was ready to meet the world. Growing up, I never realized that my need to be the best was out of the ordinary. I thought everyone wanted to push themselves past the point of successful, but I was wrong.
In high school I was the student who was involved in every club and most likely holding positions in every organization I could get into. I had bake sales every weekend and took the ACT a thousand times until I received the scores I felt I deserved. I signed up for too many AP classes and tried out too many sports. Often times you hear the story of an overachieving high school student turning into an underachieving college kid. I broke that stereotype.
I am almost finished with my junior year at a private liberal arts college, studying public relations and writing. I am now more of an overachiever than ever and sometimes I wish I wasn't. This semester alone I am taking 300-level classes that I don’t even need, just for “fun.” I have never minded being a perfectionist. I honestly can’t understand how people aren’t, but there are some drawbacks about constantly overachieving.
I truly don’t understand how people just do the bare minimum. Sometimes I wish I had that talent, but most of the time it make me anxious to see people not try their best. I don’t think this resentment is created consciously. It spirals underneath the skin, until one day it explodes. You start to resent people around you because they are doing much less than you. When you are the only person pushing yourself to the limit, you start feeling resentful toward others, even if you are pushing yourself needlessly.
There comes a point when the people around you begin to take advantage of you. Often they don’t even mean to. They are used to you taking over and doing everything so they begin to quit doing their respective parts. It’s hard to be a people-pleaser because you just can’t say no. Overachieving leads to becoming a pushover because if the work isn’t getting done, it doesn’t matter whether its your duty or not — you are going to do it.
Anxiety and overachieving go hand-in-hand. The I expected more from you and You could have done better, statements are the worst things to hear. The cherry on top of all the anxiety is that those statements are usually coming from yourself. Self pressures cause stress and anxiety. A fear of never being able to measure up to the skewed standards.
When you are an overachiever, failure hits a lot harder. I mean, it makes sense; if you don’t put all of your energy into something and it doesn’t work out, you aren’t going to be that heartbroken. But, if you try your hardest and drain yourself to make something the best and then you fail… well it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.
In a mind that travels 500 times faster on a one-way street to success, it’s hard to handle the stresses of life. Especially in college when your future is up in the air. Achievement is great, but taking a deep breath and relaxing is even better.