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Perfectionism and Why it Needs to Change

by: Bailey Weber

Photo Courtesy of icon0.com on Pexels

College students, including myself, are hitting the point of the semester where they feel like they have nothing left to give. All their papers, presentations, and finals projects are due in two weeks. Classes continue to drag on for students and they have stopped going. Why is this? 

Perfectionism is expected from parents and professors. Students, who are in three to five other classes, are expected to turn in perfect essays and give error-free speeches. When did this expectation of perfectionism come about? Why do we need to be flawless in every single class? 

These expectations have proven to cause mental decline for people in college. It can cause them to have neurotic behaviors and to become less conscientious with their work, according to the American Psychological Association

In classes, we are constantly comparing ourselves to one another. Workshops, group projects, and more cause us to scrutinize one another continuously. However, it doesn’t end in the classroom.

Social media is a huge part of why Generation Z feels the pressure to be their best selves. Seeing friends and peers thrive in school and social situations on social media can cause students to feel mediocre in comparison to them. 

These ideals for perfectionism can actually cause a lot of problems for students. Procrastination, overcompensation, and excessive checking are a few behaviors rooted in perfectionism. These behaviors have increased by 33% since 1989. How can we change the perception of our peers and professors? 

We need to begin to reevaluate what our standards are, and relax them. Realizing that “good enough” is great is where we should start. Being efficient in something is healthy. We, as stressed out college students, do not need to be perfect in anything. 

We need to be efficient in what we are learning so we can practice and continue to improve ourselves. Instead of forcing ourselves to become perfect, we can focus on taking in what information we can and work with what we have. 

We need to work with one another instead of working against each other. We are all working towards similar goals. 

Instead of avoiding classes and turning in assignments late, try reaching out to your professors and asking for assistance. It’s okay to ask for their help. 

Make sure you are proud of what you work on. It’s okay to look over what you have, but don’t worry about reworking an entire project because of one mistake. 

We need to change our perspective on being efficient versus perfect. Efficiency is healthy, perfectionism is toxic. Push through and work on self-compassion. Being kind to yourself can help create a healthy work-life balance. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in your life, we all do eventually. 

1 Comment on Perfectionism and Why it Needs to Change

  1. Nicole Cortino // November 22, 2022 at 9:32 am // Reply

    Great job on this Bailey! I really felt connected to your focus here. Made me emotional ❤ but in a good way! I hope the professors are listening! Also wonderful language in this piece.

    Like

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