The Pressures of Perfection
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The Pressures of Perfection

I'm not perfect, but I'm ashamed of it.

The Pressures of Perfection

For the majority of my life, I struggled with specific tasks for one simple reason: I wanted to be perfect. While the word "perfect" may bring to mind positive images, the word took on an extremely dark connotation in my world. Often, I was racked with anxiety- wondering if certain things would be good enough, and being certain that they needed more work.

This anxiety only worsened when I got to college- after all, this was the place I was supposed to make something of myself. Instead, I found myself spiraling further from excellence and more towards substandard. Graduate degree programs looked for people who were well rounded, and I was struggling to keep my head afloat between my course work and my part time job. Many of my peers were able to do this without an issue- however, they may not have been wracked with the guilt I faced when my work was not up to incredible standards.

Being a perfectionist as a child set me up for failure in college; I was too used to being able to get by in things I wasn't the best at by convincing myself I didn't care about them. I avoided them for a simple reason- I was ashamed that I couldn't be great at specific tasks. With this approach, I sidestepped failure- it didn't matter that I wasn't good at soccer because I didn't have to play it. While this may have been a good tactic for high school, there were many things I couldn't avoid in college.

I was first faced with this obstacle the second semester of my freshman year with Chem I, and again the fall semester of my sophomore year with Chem II. I wasn't the best at chemistry, however due to my major, I had to take all the way through Organic II and BioChem. I couldn't avoid it, but I wasn't able to perfect it. I was between a rock and a hard place. Suddenly, I became convinced that since I wasn't the best at it, I was going to fail it. Even the act of sitting down for my test gave me intense anxiety, and I felt guilty that I wasn't excelling.

I couldn't convince myself that it didn't matter- chemistry was extremely important for my major, as were many of the other science classes that I struggled with. I tried to combat this by studying all of the time- I was constantly in the library, with my head in a textbook, yet I still felt like I wasn't doing enough. I wanted to understand it better. I wanted to spend more time studying. I wanted to be perfect.

I'm still struggling with overcoming the guilt of not being perfect, but I'm working on it. This article isn't nearly as polished or proofread as I want it to be to feel proud of it, but I'm doing it anyway, because it's about time I learned that perfection isn't obtainable, and not nearly worth the amount of pressure that is associated with it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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