The pressure of perfectionism: 233,290 minutes remaining


Rory Friedberg, Journalism 1 writer

The pressure is real. It’s so easy to dwell on your grades: the D you’ve for a week in Mrs. Krueger’s Biology class or the B you got on Ms. Holden’s Factoring test. School stresses that in order to succeed, you must study hard, join extracurriculars, be in many clubs, do an AP class, have good time management skills and still somehow maintain your 4.0+ GPA. 

The pressure of perfectionism is so hard to keep up with; and because I had good grades, the expectations I got from teachers and peers were set higher than I could reach. When getting anything lower than an A, it meant that I had made a mistake, that I was closer to being a failure each time. The transition from middle to high school had made it even worse because of the fact that grades now mattered even more than ever. 

I had cousins who graduated in 2020 from MHS, and my family expected me to be just as good, if not better, than them. They had been in honors classes, done summer school every year, had all A’s, and made it into great colleges. It took me until the first week of March this year to realize grades are not more important than just trying your best. I remember staring at my Powerschool grades, brightness all the way up, and my clock showing the time; 12:57 on a school night, looking at those grades, all the work I had put into them, just to see disappointment. It was just an A-, not a C or even a B, and then I realized that the only one disappointed by it was me. My parents were proud of me and my guidance counselor praised my good grades. These firm standards that I set for myself  to try to be perfect, and struggle to meet don’t make me feel good about grades, no matter how hard I try and how high the grades may be, they’re just never enough.

 Perfectionism affects so many students around me. It may help with achieving these high standards but lead to anxiety over small mistakes. I realize now that grades do not define me and this mindset that I had was hurting me more than it was helping. Now I can look at Powerschool and see a  B+ on my Dell laptop and not stress as much about it as I used to.