You've bought your planner, turned the last page in your organization self help book, and penciled an extra gym session into your calendar. You're all set to have the perfect school year. BUT WAIT, YOU'RE FORGETTING ONE THING: the perfect school year doesn't exist! (Especially for college students.) All this being said, right now is the perfect time to ditch being a perfectionist.
There are huge pressures put on college students from every direction. Social media makes it seem like everyday is a breeze, and for some reason, we idolize this idea of the coffee chugging 20 something who finds a way to balance it all. Your social life plays a a huge role in this juggle. You want to catch up with your friends, plan instagram worthy date nights, and still have the energy to be the life of the party Friday night.
So, the first step to ditching being a perfectionist: learn to say no. Doing it all is impossible. If you try to do everything you think will make your life perfect, you'll burn yourself out quicker than you can say, "I'd love to join your book club."
On top of the stresses of working, being involved in clubs or greek life, and having a social life, there's a chance you'll find classes themselves will throw a wrench into your perfectionist plans. One big factor is simply the professors you have. Sometimes you'll get stuck for a semester with a prof. that doesn't respond to emails, forgets to post your grades or just seem to have it out for you, but take a step back in those situations. Take a deep breath, and realize that you only have to put up with that crabby calculus professor who decided to skip syllabus week for a couple more months.
Even your favorite professors aren't immune to assigning the dreaded group projects-- a perfectionist's worst nightmare! Relying on other people, scheduling meetings, and dividing the work load never goes how you expect it to. You might wake up in a cold sweat the week before it's all due and just want to take over the whole project yourself. Deep breaths. Focus on doing the best you can do on your part, more often than not your professor will be able to tell who did their work. That way you know you have your part done really well instead of a mediocre full project.
No matter what, you're bound to hit bumps along the way. Trying your hardest is important when you're in school, but so is protecting your mental health. Beating yourself up over missing leg day, forgetting you had a coffee date, or turning your homework in late can seem like the end of the world in the moment. Any perfectionist knows that there is always a pressure to put your best face forward, seem like you have it all together, and never miss a deadline, but perfection isn't reality. So this year, ditch being a perfectionist. Forget about a perfect school year, and just focus on having a happy one.